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Nationwide protests planned to urge government to address cost of living crisis


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Pressure on the Government to take urgent steps to tackle the surging cost of living crisis is to crank up with a series of protests planned nationwide.

A major protest will take place in Cork this weekend with further protests planned for Dublin, Limerick, Waterford and Galway.

The protests are planned amid warnings that low-income families are facing the threat of food poverty this winter as soaring fuel and clothing bills eat into funds used for grocery shopping.

The first demonstration will take place at 2pm on Saturday on Cork's St Patrick Street with organisers saying it is aimed at highlighting the challenges now facing ordinary families across Ireland as fuel, food and clothing costs spiral.

Director of Cork Life Centre, Don O'Leary, said Ireland needed to act to protect the most vulnerable.

"We have people coming to us and saying children are going to be hungry this winter," he said.

"Children are already suffering - we are laying (the ground) for future generations of young people to go through mental health problems because of issues to do with hunger, cold and poverty in the current day."

Former Debenhams worker and rights campaigner Carol-Ann Bridgeman said Irish families were already struggling to cope with sky-rocketing costs - amid fears of what next winter may bring.

She said the reality of life in modern Ireland is parents cutting back on activities and outings for children in a bid to reduce costs and save money for fuel, electricity and food.

In some cases she said children were offering parents their Holy Communion and Confirmation money or even their savings to try to fund ordinary family activities.

"That is something you do not want to hear from your children as a parent," she said.

Cork Penny Dinners director, Caitríona Twomey, said Ireland is facing a poverty crisis not witnessed for decades.

She said, for some vulnerable Irish families, it was akin to a modern day famine.

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"I have been warning about this for quite a while," she said.

"When we have the level of food poverty that we have in our cities, towns and villages, that is a famine. We experienced it before. If you look at our history books, do the Government really want this as their legacy in future years?"

"Food poverty is a famine - it is as simple as that."

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