Thousands take to the streets of Dublin to protest against austerity
THOUSANDS of demonstrators have marched through central Dublin today in a mass protest against austerity measures.
Official Garda estimates suggest between 8,000 and 10,000 joined the rally.
Michael O'Reilly, president of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions (DCTU), which co-organised the gathering, said it was just one step in a long campaign to reverse cutbacks.
"The evidence is clear - you cannot cut your way out of a recession," he told protesters, outside the GPO on O'Connell Street.
"On the contrary: with each cut in public spending, and with each euro taken out of the pockets of low and average earners in new or increased taxes, we are digging ourselves further into a hole."
The demonstration set off from the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square, and made its way along O'Connell Street, to D'Olier Street and back across the Liffey to the GPO.
Rolling road closures and traffic restrictions were implemented around the city centre to accommodate the march.
Mr O'Reilly said people wanted to send a message to the government that neither society nor the economy can afford another austerity Budget on December 5.
The DCTU are already planning another demonstration outside the Dail on the day of the Budget.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD, of People Before Profit and the United Left Alliance, said the protest should be the start of a national campaign of resistance against austerity and bank bail-outs. "It is abundantly clear, that half of the population if not more, simply cannot take any more," he said.
"The fabric of our society and our economy is being ripped apart. This madness has to stop. We must cease immediately the insane policy of prioritising the interests of banks and markets over the needs of ordinary citizens."
Members of Sinn Fein and the Socialist Party were also among the protest, which was organised by the DCTU and the Campaign Against Household and Water Charges.