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Crowd of 20,000 march through Dublin city centre in massive protest over cost of living crisis

The demonstration was taking place before Budget 2023 on Tuesday to put pressure on the Government to take action

Part of the crowd at the Cost of Living protest this afternoon. PHOTO: Gerry Mooney

Protesters on the march today. PHOTO: Gerry Mooney© RollingNews.ie

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

Tens of thousands of people marched through Dublin city centre this afternoon in a massive protest over the cost of living crisis.

There was major disruption to traffic as the march set off from Parnell Square at 2.30pm and made its way past the GPO on O’Connell Street on its way to the gates at Leinster House.

Along the way, marchers chanted, “prices are rising and so are we’, and Micheal in your ivory tower this is called people power.”

There, a large demonstration was staged by the Cost of Living Coalition which 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.

Speaking to the massive crowd gathered at Merrion Square, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald accused the Government of “dithering”.

Protesters on the march today. PHOTO: Gerry Mooney© RollingNews.ie

“They said these problems could not be solved overnight, well they had over a decade in power to solve them,” she said to cheers.

"They need to act and they need to act now, with a sense of urgency.”

There were loud boos when McDonald referred to “the three lads in power”, who she said had proved “time and again that they do not listen to ordinary people.”

She said: “Today we say that every worker, every family, every young person, every older person deserves a good and secure life. We will not settle for anything less.”

“If the government didn’t hear you before today, let me tell you something folks, they’ll hear you now. But will they listen?”

She also said that Tánaiste Leo Varadkar retaking office of Taoiseach from Micheál Martin was “a joke”

Deputy Paul Murphy of People Before Profit, described the turn out, which some estimates put close to 20,000, as “immense”.

"This is the biggest protest since the water charges,” he said.

“This is a very strong message to the Government that they have to deliver protection for people in the Budget from the cost of living crisis and the obscene profiteering that is taking place.

"It is also a message to other people who couldn’t come out today that we are building a very powerful movement, like we did with the water charges.

"This isn’t going to be the end of it. We’re about to announce a day of regional, local protests on November 12 as the next step to keep the pressure on.”

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett told protesters that “the government have a choice to make on Tuesday.

“If the government choose not to cap energy prices, protect people’s right to a war home, ensure people’s incomes, address the scandal of homelessness, we will be back on the streets again very soon, in even bigger numbers.”

The protest was taking place before Budget 2023 on Tuesday to put pressure on the Government to take action regarding the rising cost of energy, food, and other essentials.

In a call to arms the coalition tweeted: “Today is your chance to do what we did on water charges - people power forced the establishment to retreat.

“Let's repeat that on cost of living crisis. We can win measures that help ordinary people survive.”

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barett said he believes it’s set to be one of the biggest protests seen in Ireland since the campaign against water charges.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, a member of the 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.”

Last week, hundreds of people took part in a similar protest in Cork where they demanded a cap on energy prices and rents, as well as price controls on food.

Cork People Before Profit TD Mick Barry had told Cork’s Red FM that the Government is not doing enough about the “massive profiteering” of energy companies and other industries.

"Ordinary people are being hammered by this cost of living crisis", he said.

"People are choosing between heating or eating this winter."

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