RONAN McGREEVY and CONOR LALLY
ABOUT 1,500 people demonstrated outside the gates of Leinster House yesterday evening in a noisy protest against the Budget.
MEP Joe Higgins told the assembled crowd yesterday evening that it had been “the most shameful day in the history of the State” because Ireland had become a vassal state for the “financial markets of Europe and the world”.
There was a large presence of gardaí throughout the day, backed up by the Garda helicopter and the Garda Dog Unit. There were just three arrests.
The protests was largely peaceful but turned rowdy when Budget protesters targeted a man they believed to be Independent TD Jackie Healy-Rae.
The man emerged from the barricades outside Leinster House shortly after the Budget speech to a cacophony of insults and cat-calls from protesters who thought he was Mr Healy-Rae.
Sensing he was in danger, two young gardaí escorted him down Kildare Street making themselves also the subject of the crowd’s ire.
The gardaí got jostled and pelted with snowballs. A cameraman who was busy following the ruckus slipped on the thawing ice.
The man was ushered into the Department of Transport offices to loud boos. It was only afterwards, when a photographer looked at his lens camera, that it emerged that it was not the Kerry South TD.
The so-called “Anglo Avenger” Joe McNamara, who famously drove a cement truck into the gates of Leinster House, was arrested yesterday morning when he staged a protest at the same location, this time using a cherry-picker to make his point.
He was followed by Shell to Sea campaigners, who were also a constant fixture outside Government Buildings during the IMF talks.
They have perfected the habit of getting their banners into shot while television reporters are live on air.
“Can we move the banner, they are broadcasting now,” said one supporter to another.
From early afternoon, the soundtrack of the protests was the constant clacking noise of pots and pans being banged by about dozen people who had organised themselves through a Facebook page.
“This is the first day of Eurocolonialism,” said the oldest protester, Jos Bradel (77), while she hit a cooking pot with a hammer.
About 200 Sinn Féin supporters arrived an hour before the Budget, ratcheting up the noise level with drums and a bodhrán with a picture of Bobby Sands on the front. They also lit red flares giving the foreign news crews their best shot of the day.
Drummer Alan Donnelly said their protest included people “lucky enough to have a job”. “We’re the only ones acting like an opposition,” he added.
Like the snow on the pavement, the Sinn Féin supporters had melted away by the time Gerry Adams arrived. He sought out the film crews instead.
He was followed by about 1,000 supporters from Éirígí, along with anarchists, members of the 1 per cent organisation and the Socialist Workers, who all made their way from the Wolfe Tone monument in St Stephen’s Green.
Last night, a group of protesters carried on their protests outside the vacant offices of Anglo-Irish Bank in St Stephen’s Green.
I was there on behalf of the residents movement I am a member of and I became aware of the Glitch at various Bank of Ireland ATM Machines .It occurred to me that a message was been sent to our political masters from their new masters in Europe and that was that this Glitch could become permanent if the draconian budget was not passed by the Dail .
Another point I want to make is that the new loan from the IMF and the EU is in fact costing us 7.3% if you take into account that we are in fact subsidizing the funds from the IMF and EU by putting up the first 17.5 Billion ourselves and there is no mention of the costs of setting up the loans and subsequent charges .In any case even if you take it that the loans are 5.8% of this 10 billion is supposed to go to recapitalize the banks and another 25 billion is in reserve so 10 billion is costing 5.8% to the banks.
Then presumably the banks are to lend this money out to business and mortgage seekers at what interest rate? It would have to be 5.8% plus the banks mark up of approx 2% .So the banks can only lend these funds for 7.8% ??? Who can afford this penal interest when the rates for every other European are 1% plus bank charge of .75% to 1.75% interest! So we now have a Europe that is charging different interest rates in different parts of Europe are we then looking at a brake up of the Euro by the back door.
Are we Irish now third class citizens of Europe? Back to Bank of Ireland Glitch yesterday, make no mistake we were given a taste of what will happen if we don’t tow the new line the EU is now calling and none of the established political parties have the stomach to stand up and fight for Ireland. They are more concerned with fighting over the carcass of the Irish Republic, waiting to get their hands on the merks and perks.
I believe the star has a excellent analyzes of the Budget and I hope to post a copy later on this afternoon
But first I have to go to Dublin .in any case this is yet another dark day for democracy in Ireland