Dubliners demand: 'Share the wealth!'
By Carol Mitchell
DUBLIN — On October 20, 1000 people marched to Parliament House to demonstrate against the Fianna Fail government's austerity policies.
Under the slogan "Share the Wealth", the march was coordinated by several community groups, including the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed, the Community Workers Cooperative, the European Anti-Poverty Network and the Irish Traveller Association.
The central message of the rally was that the prosperity of the so-called Celtic tiger must be distributed more equally.
A new national agreement soon to be negotiated between community bodies, government and unions must be a "partnership for social inclusion", say these groups. The national anti-poverty networks will be entering the negotiations with the following objectives:
- a massive one-off "strategic investment package" to compensate communities that have been excluded from the boom;
- budget expenditure that demonstrates a real commitment to eradicating poverty and social exclusion;
- tax cuts directed towards those on lower incomes while ensuring that the tax take is sufficient to guarantee decent public services.
During the lively march, hundreds of people shouted slogans such as "Six million on the shelf, now it's time to share the wealth". Other organisations supporting the march included trade unions, St Vincent de Paul, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, the Irish Wheelchair Association and the Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas.
Very few youth organisations or young people participated, reflecting the fact that young people in Ireland, especially in Dublin, are among the most marginalised of groups. Alongside women, they are taking the full brunt of the government's attacks on services, jobs and income.
The North West Inner City Youth Interest Group did join the march, carrying a banner protesting that the more than 4000 young people living in that area have no multipurpose youth centre.