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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Review 2013

Hunger strikes and pepper spray - 2013 in protests

Abortion, flags and cuts cuts cuts – here’s a round-up of what people stood against this past year.

IT’S BEEN ANOTHER year of contentious issues with some like the abortion debate, the Budget and austerity measures dominating the agenda. For some campaigns, thousands of people took to the streets to protest, hoping their voices would be heard.

Here are some of the most notable protests of 2013:


The debate around the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill dominated the first part of this year with both pro-choice and pro-life groups taking to the streets.

imagePro-choice campaigners in Dublin in January this year (Image: Niall Carson/PA).


Thousands of people took part in the pro-life 'Vigil for Life' in Dublin in June this year. (Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland)

image(Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland)

imageAnother pro-life rally in Dublin in July (Image: Sasko Lazarov).

imageAnd a counter demonstration by pro-choice campaigners on the same day (Image: Niall Carson/PA).


Thousands of pro-choice campaigners marched in September for a global day of action. (Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)

The pro-life campaigners even protested outside the minister's house during the second round of public hearings on the proposed legislation:


And both sides had a good turnout at the Dáil on the day of the vote on the new legislation:


(Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)

After the bill was passed in the Dáil, the pro-choice protest became more of a celebration:


(Image: Niall Carson/PA)

Nationalising bank debt

In February, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions coordinated 'Not Our Debt' marches in six counties to protest against the nationalisation of bank debts.  There was a large turnout with numbers for Dublin reaching 25,000.


(Image: @StevieCMJ)

Garda station closures

This year, 100 garda stations were closed as the force adjusted to budget cuts. Of the 100 stations that were earmarked for closure, 98 of them were only open on a part-time basis and 88 of them were served by only one garda. In county Dublin, 1,500 people gathered at Stepaside Garda Station in February to protest its imminent closure.


(Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)

Nursing graduate scheme

The HSE's plan to hire one hundred graduate nurses and pay them 80 per cent of the usual salary caused an uproar among nursing staff at the start of this year. Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Association and the Psychiatric Nurses Association protested outside HSE headquarters and urged graduates to boycott the new scheme.


(Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)

Property Tax

More than 5,000 people protested against the Local Property Tax in April, while EU finance ministers attended a meeting in Dublin Castle.


(Image: Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland)/Facebook)

Meath man Tony Rochford also went on a hunger strike for more than 20 days in protest against the tax:


(Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)


What began with a late-night vote at a local council meeting in Belfast about the number of days the Union flag would fly over the city hall, spiralled into months of protests and riots. Dozens of people, including police officers, were injured and more than 200 people were arrested.


(Image: Julien Behal/PA)


The Irish Farmers' Association staged a protest outside Dublin Castle in March against proposed EU reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy.


(Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland)

And again in May. This time they brought their tractors:


(Images: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)

Student grant cuts

Demanding that third-level  maintenance grants be protected, thousands of students joined marches and rallies in October in Dublin, Cork and Sligo.

(Video: IT Sligo Students' Union/YouTube)

Budget cuts

The Budget was announced in October this year with a number of controversial measures sparking protests by pensioners, young people and mothers.

On the day, there were scuffles between gardaí and protesters and a few people were even pepper sprayed:


(Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)

A few days later the demonstration against increased prescription charges and changes to income limits on medical cards for over 70s drew thousands of people to Dublin.


(Image: PA)

No one was pepper sprayed this time.

Did you take part in any of these protests? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

Read: Thousands join pensioners’ protest against Budget cuts>

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