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Sunday 10 December 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Sam Boal The crowd gathered at Parnell Square on Dublin's northside.
pre budget protest

Thousands march across Dublin in cost of living protest

The demonstration aims to heap pressure on the government ahead of the Budget on Tuesday.

LAST UPDATE | Sep 24th 2022, 5:41 PM

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE marched across Dublin city centre this afternoon to protest the spiralling cost of living.

The demonstration organised by the ‘Cost of Living Coalition’ gathered on Parnell Square and went across the capital to Leinster House.

Addressing the crowd, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said: “People are rising up in kindness, compassion and hope.

“Today we say that every worker, every family, every young person, every older person deserves a good and secure life. We will not settle for anything less.”

“If the government didn’t hear you before today, let me tell you something folks, they’ll hear you now. But will they listen?”
unnamed Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /
The crowd booed when McDonald referred to “the three lads in power”, who she said have “demonstrate[d] time and again that they do not listen to ordinary people.”

She said that Tánaiste Leo Varadkar retaking office of Taoiseach from Micheál Martin was “a joke”.

She called on the government to cut rents and energy bills and ban rent increases for at least three years. “Remember, they’ve left people in dire straits for months and told them wait for September. September is here.”

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett told protesters that “the government have a choice to make on Tuesday.

“If the government choose not to cap energy prices, protect people’s right to a war home, ensure people’s incomes, address the scandal of homelessness, we will be back on the streets again very soon, in even bigger numbers.”

Seamus Dooley, the general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said it was a “scandal beyond belief that the government thinks we should be popping bottles of champagne for an increase of 80c in the minimum wage.

“80c wouldn’t get you a box of teabags,” he said.

Dozens of organisations attended the march including Sinn Féin, People Before Profit, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Senior Citizens Parliament, the Union of Students in Ireland and the Mica Action Group.

The coalition cites controlling energy costs, affordable housing and investment in public services among its campaign demands.

780Cost Of Living Protests Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

Socialist party TD Mick Barry, who was involved in a protest in Cork last weekend, said people travelled from all over Ireland to attend today’s march.

“This is people’s chance. The energy providers have had their say, the landlords have had their say, this is the chance for ordinary people to have their say on the streets,” the Cork North-Central TD said.

Speaking from New York, where he attended the UN General Assembly, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the energy crisis is evident across Europe and it is largely a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“The challenge to government is to respond to the crisis, as we did to Covid-19. That is our challenge. And to alleviate pressures on households, particularly those most vulnerable and also then to protect jobs as effectively as we can,” the Fianna Fáil leader said.

Additional reporting from Carl Kinsella and Christina Finn

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