Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

50,000 attend cuts protest march

Thousands of protesters joined an anti-cuts march in Dublin

More than 50,000 people have taken to the streets of Dublin to protest against the country's austerity budget.

Public service workers, students and left wing political groups marched through the city under the banner of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) to demand a better and fairer way.

Thousands then filled the capital's main thoroughfare, O'Connell Street, for a mass rally outside the historic GPO - where the 1916 Proclamation of Independence was read.

Jack O'Connor, president of the Siptu trade union, said the Government's recovery plan and bailout was about rescuing the people - "But it's about rescuing the people at the top of the banks in France and Germany," he told the cheering crowds.

Gardai said the protest passed peacefully, with no arrests made during the day.

After the protest hundreds of activists broke away and marched to the Irish parliament, where masked men set fire to an election poster of Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

Dozens of gardai were at the scene.

The Dublin march followed news of an 80 billion euro (£68 billion) rescue package to bail out the Irish economy and details of the government's four-year national recovery plan.

Drastic measures include slashing the minimum wage, three billion euro (£2.5 billion) in social welfare cuts, a rise in tax and the axing of 25,000 public sector jobs.

An austerity budget is planned for December 7 - when six billion euro (£5 billion) of cuts will be made.

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