Opposition politicians and campaigners will join crowds of demonstrators taking part in six rallies around the country today, protesting over the cost-of-living crisis today.
emonstrations organised by the Cost of Living Coalition are planned for Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Sligo.
The group has urged the public to take part to call on the Government to take immediate action on the cost of living.
The coalition, which is made up of trade unionists, student and pensioner organisations and opposition political parties, will hold the protests across several cities.
Speakers at the Dublin protest will include Fr Peter McVerry, Mary Lou Mc Donald, chief executive of the Senior Citizens Parliament Sue Shaw, Joan Collins, Beth O’Reilly from the Union of Students in Ireland and People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett.
The Government has so far resisted calls for a so-called “mini budget” ahead of the autumn to roll out further measures for families.
However, it has denied allegations that it has been slow to act on the issue, highlighting that the steps it has taken to tackle cost-of-living pressures since last October add up to 2.5 billion euro.
Dublin march co-ordinator Eddie Conlon said: “Developments in the last two days show that the cost-of-living crisis is deepening, with nearly 30% of households experiencing energy poverty. This will get worse as prices continue to rise.
“The breakdown of the pay talks shows the Government is not prepared to protect incomes from rising inflation. It’s clear that it was not prepared to meet trade union demands that workers’ living standards be protected.
“Urgent action is needed. Next October will be too late for many households as they slide further and further into financial distress.
“The Government needs to get a clear message that urgent action is needed now and the public can deliver it … by turning out in their thousands.”
On Thursday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he has not ruled out bringing in additional measures to help cash-strapped households, but said there are no specific plans to do so before budget day.
The protest in Dublin will take place at 1pm this afternoon at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin.
A demonstration will take place at 2pm on Cork’s St Patrick Street, with another rally planned for Galway’s Eyre Square at 2pm. Protests will also be staged on Bedford Row in Limerick at 2pm and outside Sligo’s Town Hall at 1pm today.
Director of Cork Life Centre Don O’Leary said Ireland needed to act to protect the most vulnerable.
“We have people coming to us and saying children are going to be hungry this winter,” he said.
“Children are already suffering – we are laying (the ground) for future generations of young people to go through mental health problems because of issues to do with hunger, cold and poverty in the current day.”