Thousands of people are expected to attend a major cost-of-living protest, in Dublin.
he march will begin at 2.30pm tomorrow, at the top of Parnell Square – which will blocked for a time – and make its way to Dáil Éireann, on Kildare Street.
It has been organised by the Cost of Living Coalition, which is made up of organisations including trade unionists, student and pensioner bodies and opposition political parties.
The aim of the march is urge the Government to take radical action on the cost-of-living and housing crisis.
The group is calling for “price controls, increased wages and welfare, rent controls and reductions, windfall tax on profits and free childcare and public transport”.
The coalition held a demonstration in Cork city last weekend, with an estimated 1,000 people in attendance.
The number of rallies has increased around the country in recent weeks — but next Saturday’s planned demonstration is expected to be by far the largest.
The Cost of Living Coalition was founded by Eddie Conlon, TU Dublin (formerly DIT) sociology lecturer and a long-time activist for People Before Profit.
He told the Sunday Independent, that he has never seen “such unity in any campaign as this one” in his over 40 years of activism.
“It 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 said.
Speaking in the Dáil Éireann this week, People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the Government should listen to “what people are calling for” in advance of the budget.
“[Ireland] is a country for profit hungry energy companies, big corporations and property vultures, for the greedy and the obscenely wealthy,” he said.
“And I think, it is that sense that is going to lead thousands and thousands of people out on the streets this Saturday, to assemble at Parnell Square and march to this Dáil before the budget and to demand relief and protecting from the cost-of-living and housing disaster that people are suffering.”
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, a member of coalition group, said people are living in a “nightmare” over rising bills and day-to-day living costs.
“There is no way you could exaggerate the kind of pressure that people are under and there’s a real sense that Government hasn’t listened,” Ms McDonald said on Tuesday.
“(Government) have said a lot. They they’ve done a lot of kite flying but actually, when it came down to it, there was a lot of delay and dither.
“So the evidence will be on budget day as to whether or not the real gravity of this situation has landed with a Government that, frankly, is completely out of touch so far with realities on the ground.”
Fr Peter McVerry said the Government is failing the state.
“I asked the Government not to fail the people of this country again in this energy crisis,” he added.
“One of the primary responsibilities of Government is to ensure that all of its citizens have their basic needs met. That means including housing, which they have failed to do, free education, which they have failed to do.”
Meanwhile, Union of Students in Ireland president Beth O’Reilly said students are being forced to sleep in tents, cars and friends’ couches.
“They can’t find or afford accommodation and that is disgraceful,” she added.
“The onus of this work is being put in our students’ unions, the Government have washed their hands with the problem.
“They seem to think that digs is a solution to the student accommodation crisis, when we know that students who avail of digs have no rental rights and are still being charged absolutely extortionate rents.”