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'The street is a cold place' Enda Kenny gives coffee to man protesting outside Dáil

The Taoiseach was pictured handing one of the protesters a cup of coffee this morning.

Updated 10.30pm

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES are suspending a protest outside Government Buildings with plans to “re-ignite” it tomorrow morning.

It follows what leader campaigner Martin Naughton described as a “disappointing” meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny this evening.

The group said the discussion ended without agreement, but the Taoiseach agreed to meet with the campaigners again in three months.

The group have already spent 36 hours on the streets, and plan for a total of 72.

The group organising the protest AT Network has criticised spending cuts to services in recent years. Since 2008, spending on disability services has been cut by 10%, or almost €160 million.

The Taoiseach was pictured on his way into Cabinet this morning stopping to speak with Naughton, handing him a cup of coffee.

90393529 Source: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

Kenny told Naughton:

The government haven’t signed off on any aspect of the budget yet.

Naughton replied: “Aw please don’t, please don’t because we’re going to do whatever it takes.”

Kenny then extended an invitation to meet with the the group today.

“What I really want from you are examples of where the money is wasted and where you can give practical examples,” the Taoiseach added, “I’d be very interested to meet you and to hear that.”

90393519 Source: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

The initial group of 20 campaigners saw their numbers swell today, saying that people travelled from across the country to join them.

In a statement released by the ÁT Network this morning, Naughton said: “The street is a very cold place to be.

We shouldn’t have to do this. But this is what we have been driven to. We have to fight for our recognition as independent and equal citizens of Ireland. We have to camp at the doors of power to be heard.

“We know how things can be improved and it is not by pumping money into residential centres. We, and our families, can make decisions for ourselves about the best services we need to live our lives, without reliance on the discretion of others.”

A spokesperson for the Taoiseach has been contacted for comment. 

Originally published 10.27am. Additional reporting by Nicky Ryan. 

Read: ‘No more crumbs from the Budget table’: wheelchair users stage 72 hour Dáil protest>

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