Tony Rochford and supporters outside the Dáil last month Photocall Ireland
2013 lockout

Three thousand sign up to 'lock the Government out of the Dáil'

A protest group – led by property tax hunger striker Tony Rochford – is planning a large-scale demonstration as TDs return from their break.

OVER THREE THOUSAND people have signed up on Facebook to ‘lock the Government out of the Dáil’ as part of a protest planned for when TDs return from their summer break.

Organisers are hoping those sort of numbers turn out for the 18 September event, in which protesters plan to form a human chain around the entrances to Leinster House.

Bernie Hughes, one of the demonstration’s organisers, said it was being held “to send a message to the powers that be to put pressure on the Troika to stop the austerity”.

Hughes said TDs would receive letters from the group in advance of the protest, asking them not to cross the picket.

Asked whether demonstrators would move if gardaí asked them, she said “the amount of people that show up will dictate what happens on the day”.

“If we assemble at 5am and have five hundred people or five thousand people outside the Dáil by the time politicians show up, then we’ll be making it clear to them.

The plan was launched earlier this month by Meath man Tony Rochford, who hit the headlines earlier this yearwhen he staged a hunger strike over the property tax. The action lasted 23 days before he ended it on medical advice.

“We have a few tricks up our sleeve yet in the days coming up to it,” Rochford told He said it would be a “major statement” if Government ministers opted not to pass the picket.

Organisers are planning to meet with at least one union and a number of independent TDs in the coming days as they aim to build support for the protest.

imageDemonstrators taking part in Iceland’s ‘Kitchenware Revolution’ in January 2009 (BRYNJAR GAUTI/AP/Press Association Images)

One of the leaders of the Icelandic Kitchenware Revolution (the series of protests staged in the wake of the country’s financial crisis) Hörður Torfason is due to arrive in the country the week before the event to help generate publicity and arrange a high profile publicity stunt.

According to Hughes: “We have the 1913 commemorations coming up, and I believe we have a situation not far off that for many people at the moment”.

Hughes said that, in a similar manner to the Iceland protests, a stage and microphone would be set up outside the Dáil from early in the morning, and that anyone who wishes to have their say on the state of the country would be allowed speak.

Read: Michael D to lead 1913 Lockout commemorations this weekend >

Read: Property tax hunger striker: ‘I’d say I won’t last too long’ >

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