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People from all over the country travel to Dáil Lockout protest

Protesters have gathered outside Leinster House since 5am this morning to protest against austerity.

THIS MORNING ABOUT 150 people gathered outside Leinster House for the Dáil Lockout Protest.

The ‘Lock the government out of the Dáil’ protest was organised in response to people’s disillusionment with the government and against austerity.

Members of the public gathered at both gates of Leinster House, while gardaí stood guard at the barricades.

In the middle of the crowd stood one man with a speakerphone, Dominick Gaughran. One would think he was one of the organisers, but no, he is just a regular worker, he said.

imageDominick Gaughran speaking at the protest today.

Gaughran, a firefighter from Wexford said he travelled to Dublin today to voice his anger at the government. He said he began to take an interest in politics about two years ago, when the economy was doing particularly bad. He joined Sinn Fein briefly, but soon realised they were not the party for him.

“I was desperate to make a change, to try and make a difference. My family is a single income family and we are struggling. Everyone, including me, has had to tighten our belts, and thankfully we have gotten on top of things now, but I can’t sit by idly and not do something,” he said.

George McAnaspie travelled to Dublin with Dominick today. He said:

In the 80s, I had to travel to the US due one recession and when I returned I was right back into another one. More than 80,000 kids have had to emigrate and it is just low to hear the rhetoric being bandied about that it is an ‘opportunity’ for them. I know all about it – I’ve been there.

These kids are struggling over there, struggling to get jobs, living undocumented and depending on a sympathetic network of Americans to help them out.

Disability cuts

Carol Flanagan from Galway also travelled up to Dublin today to be at the gates at Leinster House this morning.

Holding a photo of her deceased daughter, she said she was there to protest against the disability cuts. As a carer for her daughter, she said the cuts that have been done to disability allowances have had a huge effect on people across the country and said people should “take no more”.

Another protester, Helen Murray received a round of applause from the group when she crossed the road holding a piece of paper with “one angry mother” written in red pen.

imageHelen Murray outside the Dáil this morning.

“I am here today to protest against austerity and the cuts being imposed on us. I would like to see the politicians have to live and support a family on the wage I am on. They are in there laughing at us,” said Murray.

Turnout

She added that she was rather disappointed with the turnout. “I would have liked to see more people here today. I travelled up from Kilkenny on the bus today. I could have spent that €15 on something else, on three meals for my family this week, but I decided to come here. People are whining about the state of the country, but there has to be a point where people say they have had enough and come out on the streets”.

Mark Fitzsimmons travelled from Navan to be at the protest today. Fitzsimmon has had both his eyes removed and says he knows all too well about the cuts to disability.

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Holding his cane in one hand and a speakerphone in the other, Fitzsimmons said there have been “cruel cuts” to everyone, adding that the government had unjustly attacked the elderly and the vulnerable.

Martin O’Rourke from Navan said he took the day off to be at the protest today and said he wanted more people to come out on the streets today, in a peaceful manner, he added.

“They [the government] know that we are complacent and they are taking advantage of that. Everyone needs to fight the cuts, in some way, we all must find a way to rebel, be it big or small”.

Here is Carol Flanagan, Helen Murray, Mark Fitzsimmons and Martin O’Rourke on why they wanted to protest today:

You can view a livestream of the protest here.

There will be another update on how the protest is going later in the afternoon, so stay tuned…

Crowd gathering at ‘Lock the government out of the Dáil’ protest>

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