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Dublin: 14 °C Monday 17 June, 2019
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'Have you a job? Have you a job?' - Tense exchanges as FG Cork meeting disrupted by protesters

The Connolly Youth Movement said its activists had caused the disruption.

A still taken from this evening's livestream.
A still taken from this evening's livestream.

A FINE GAEL meeting in Cork was disrupted by a socialist youth group this evening, leading to some tense exchanges and the temporary suspension of the meeting.

The Connolly Youth Movement livesteamed the protest on Facebook, showing a number of activists reading anti-austerity statements and criticising the government for its record on poverty and homelessness.

Deirdre Clune MEP, who was chairing the meeting, repeatedly asked the protesters to identify themselves and said what they were doing was “not fair”.

“You are denying people who have come here the chance to inform themselves on the subject,” Clune told the protesters. 

Other Fine Gael party supporters expressed their disgruntlement, with one shouting “Have you a job? Have you a job?” at the protesters. 

The incident began when one of the protesters asked that a minute silence be held “for the two homeless men who died in Cork.”

Clune, who was on stage alongside Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney, allowed to room to go silent before attempting to restore order to the meeting.

“You don’t have the floor, we’re trying to chair a meeting,” she said.

After the initial protester finished their remarks another stood up to speak.

She stated: “Austerity is well for a slim minority and that is how our country is run…. The rich gets richer and everybody loses out. We have had enough.”

While she was speaking, a party supporter sitting beside her attempted to cut her off, saying:

Why don’t you talk outside, wouldn’t you be better doing that? Nobody can hear you at this stage, all you are doing is… Ah it’s all prepared for you, written by somebody else on your behalf?

Posted by on Monday, 17 June 2019

(Click here if video doesn’t play)

A third protester then began speaking.

“We want a society that looks after its people, no matter who they are,” he said.

We want a society that looks after all its people. We want a break with the European Union and its militarism, we want a break with US militarism and an Ireland that cherishes all the children equally. 

During this contribution, Clune then suspended the meeting. 

In a post on Facebook, Connolly Youth Movement said it had disrupted the meeting.

“Activists disrupted a meeting by Fine Gael today as a form of protest. Fine Gael are not welcome in Cork and never will be. Disrupt their meetings and question them everywhere and all the time. AGITATE EDUCATE ORGANISE,” the group said.

In a statement after the resumption of the meeting, Fine Gael described the protesters as a “very small group”.

“A Fine Gael public meeting aimed at informing the people of Cork about the upcoming plebiscites on directly elected mayors was briefly interrupted by a very small group of protestors. The public meeting continued once the protestors left, and after Fine Gael members present asked the organisers to ensure it proceeded.”

The tense meeting came at the end of a day in Cork in which Fine Gael’s leadership was also met with protests from farmers

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Rónán Duffy

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