IMF/EU Protest Report

I wrote this to get some feedback on my reporting skills, so for once there’s no opinion. No overt opinion anyway. I’ve actually included the aims of the protest so I suppose my opinion is that they deserve some audience. This all happened over a week ago by the way, so ignore the dates.

500 Protest in Dublin against EU/IMF

James Keating

500 Protestors marched in Dublin today in protest at European Union and International Monetary Fund austerity measures. After crossing the city from Parnell Square, the group sat in front of the Merrion Hotel, where EU/IMF leaders are staying.

The march is part of the Enough Campaign, which is seeking to stop cuts to a number of services. A&E departments, social welfare, public sector pay and special needs education are among those in danger. The protestors also oppose the privatisation of state assets such as the ESB and Bord Gais.

A number of groups were involved, organised under the banner of the Enough Campaign. People Before Profit, the Socialist Worker’s Party, Pensioner’s Protest Group and Against Cuts in Education numbered among the trade-union backed march. All the groups involved fear further cuts are in store after negotiations between the Irish government and the EU/IMF representatives currently in Dublin end.

Led by TD Richard Boyd Barrett, each group spoke about the effect of austerity measures on their communities. Boyd Barrett began, saying ‘Financial elites across Europe and the World are trying to sacrifice our society, our community, our services, our jobs, to satisfy the endless greed of bankers and financiers.’

He was followed by speakers from most of the groups involved, who had all suffered as a result of already-implemented cuts. The loss of jobs in Education, cuts to pensions and the closure of A&E services were foremost on the agenda, as the well-organised protest made its feelings known to the EU/IMF members staying in the Merrion Hotel.

The EU and IMF currently have representatives in Dublin to negotiate a €67 billion bailout package. Ireland has already drawn praise from EU Economic Commissioner Olli Rehn for ‘determined efforts’ to co-operate with bailout agreements. This drew sharp criticism from Adrienne Murphy of Against Cuts in Education, who said ‘We’re being such good children about implementing these horrible cuts, but there are kids with special needs whose educational support has been removed’.

Her speech was followed by comments from Jim Brennan of the Tara Mines Pensioners Group, who lamented the treatment of pensioners across Ireland. He voiced his opposition to a 10% cut across all pensions for the next four years. Rita Fagan, a community activist, also spoke about the loss of community projects.

The demonstration saw a crowd varied in age and appearance make their way from the Garden of Remembrance at Parnell Square to Merrion Street. Along the way they stopped to show solidarity with a protest against the Killing of Christians in Egypt. The Enough Campaign marchers carried a multitude of banners and placards, many homemade, and sat on Merrion Street to hear music and speeches.

The demonstration in Dublin was one of many across Ireland and Europe today. Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy also saw demonstrations as part of a European day of action against the EU and IMF. Directly after the Enough Campaign march another began at Parnell Square. This march was to join the Occupy Dame Street protest at the Central Bank, which has been going on since Saturday the 8th of October, with no plans to end. Similar protests took place in Cork and Galway today.

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