A string of cost of living protests are expected to bring thousands of people out onto streets in towns and cities across the country this afternoon.
he “national day of protest” is being co-ordinated by the Cost of Living Coalition, which is made up of opposition parties, trade unions, civil society groups, students and local community activists.
The coalition is calling for “price controls, increased wages and welfare, rent controls and reductions, windfall tax on profits and free childcare and public transport”.
Multiple protests are set to take place in the capital this afternoon, while marches have also been planned in Galway, Limerick, Cork, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Wicklow, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Monaghan, and Kildare.
The coalition held two days of action in September.
The first in Cork City was attended by over 2,000 people, while one week later, thousands of people took to the streets of Dublin and marched from the Garden of Remembrance to Leinster House.
The Dublin demonstration was organised for the weekend before Budget 2023, with an aim to put pressure on the Government to take action regarding the rising cost of energy, food, and other essentials.
Political parties and organisations attending the march included Sinn Féin, People Before Profit, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Senior Citizens Parliament, the Union of Students in Ireland and the Mica Action Group.
Organisers claimed more than 20,000 people marched from Parnell Square, up O’Connell Street and on to Merrion Square.
Groups carried signs and placards calling on the Government to introduce measures to “freeze inflation, not the nation”, enhanced rights for tenants and redress for mica victims.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett will be attending the protest in his own constituency of Dun Laoghaire later today.
He said the “decentralised” approach to today’s action is “more about establishing” the coalition’s presence around the country, with a view to holding “mass national protests” in the new year.
“For a number of weeks, and particularly since the big demonstration before the budget, we’ve been trying to establish groups and networks in as many parts of the country as we can, and today is really an attempt to further that process and to build local versions of the coalition that we’ve built at a national level,” he told Independent.ie.
“We have a lot involvement in the 20 or so locations across the country… Today is really about establishing those coalition networks across the country with a view to holding even bigger protests, mass national protests, in the new year.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett said the “overwhelming feeling” among the coalition’s members, is that the measures introduced in Budget 2023 will “somewhat blunt” the impact of energy price hikes in the short-term, but the Government has done “little of value” to address the housing and rental crisis.
“And that the short-term crumbs that were thrown will be lost very, very quickly and we’re very concerned and I think people on the ground are very concerned about what’s coming in the new year,” he added.
Speaking to the Sunday Independent earlier this year, Cost of Living Coalition founder, Eddie Conlon, said he has never seen “such unity in any campaign as this one” in his over 40 years of activism.
The TU Dublin (formerly DIT) sociology lecturer and a long-time activist said the group has support from “so many organisations and from every generation”.
“This is a huge issue in society. People are frightened. People are worried about the bills that are due to arrive,” he added
Today’s demonstrations will begin between noon and 2.30pm at the following locations: Arklow, Main Street, Wicklow; the fountain, Carlow Town; Main Guard Street, Clonmel; the Grand Parade, Cork; the Town Hall, Galway; Town Hall, Kilkenny; City Hall, Limerick; Church Square, Monaghan Town; the General Post Office, O’Connell Street, Sligo; the Red Square; Waterford City; the Bullring, Wexford Town and Newbridge, Kildare.
Meanwhile, a series of protest will be held across Dublin city and county, in Balbriggan, Crumlin, Drimnagh, Thomas Street, the Malahide Road and Fairview junction, Dun Laoghaire, Finglas, Rathmines, Ringsend, Tallaght and Smithfield Square.
Full details about the time and location of each demonstration are available on the coalition’s social media channels.