Belfast Telegraph

Protesters end 160km march at Dail

Four men protesting over the economic crisis have taken in the sites of Ireland's patriot past as they ended a 160km march at the Dail.

The men and supporters visited Kilmainham Gaol and went on to the scene of Robert Emmet's execution before hundreds more joined them at the GPO and a picket at Leinster House.

John Kavanagh, Stephen Tobin and father and son Ned and Dermot Murray trekked four days from south Kilkenny in anger over tough Budget measures, and demanded the Government slash TDs' wages and scrap the planned Universal Social Charge.

Mr Kavanagh accepted nothing would come of their action but said they wanted to vent their anger.

"For a long number of months we've been very disillusioned with the country, the way it's going with the economy and how downhearted the people were," the 42-year-old said.

"It was just our own personal protest. We felt we had to do something because we felt that we weren't being represented by any of the political parties that were in power."

After getting inspiration from the capital's historical sites the men sang rebel songs outside the gates of Leinster House including In Dublin's Fair City and A Nation Once Again.

They were met by Sinn Fein Dail leader Caoimhghin O Caolain who took their letter containing eight actions they wanted the Government to take, including reducing the pension levy, scrapping the Universal Social Charge outlined in the Budget, cutting TDs' wages by 50% and not allowing TDs to draw down their pensions until they turn 65.

Ned Murray, a laid-off gas contractor, said they had listened to the concerns of people as they travelled up from Kilkenny.

"They've (Government) ruined what should have been the best country in Europe, if not the world, and walking up through the countryside and talking to the people and how we were screwed, and how we were all screwed," the 64-year-old said.

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