World Bulletin / News Desk
Tens of thousands of people marched in six cities around Ireland on Saturday to protest against austerity measures, days after the government struck a vital deal on its bank debt.
Prominent trade unionists and opposition members of parliament marched alongside citizens facing a sixth year of cuts since a financial crisis plunged Ireland's banking system into a debt spiral.
A deal with the European Central Bank allowing Ireland to stretch out the cost of bailing out Anglo Irish Bank did not dampen the turnout for the protests, organized weeks in advance by an umbrella group for Irish trade unions.
For protesters struggling with cuts in living standards, mortgage arrears or unemployment, the deal is scant consolation.
"I've no confidence at all in the deal, it won't make any difference to ordinary people," said Alfie Murray, marching in Dublin with his 8-year-old grandson.
"It's the next generation that'll shoulder the cost," he said.
Police said around 50,000 took part in the demonstrations under the banner "Lift the Burden" in Dublin and other cities, although the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), which represents nearly a fifth of Ireland's 3.1 million electorate, put the figure at over 110,000.
The largest protest took place in the capital, where police said up to 25,000 people took part - a large demonstration by Irish standards.
Marches organized in Cork and Sligo had an estimated turnout of 6,000, according to police, while protests in Limerick, Galway and Waterford attracted crowds of about 2,000.
Ireland's bank debt deal, announced last week, saw the cost of bailing out Anglo Irish stretched out over 40 years rather than 10, cutting Ireland's borrowing needs by 20 billion euros over the next decade.
"The jury is out on this deal," SIPTU trade union president Jack O'Connor told Reuters.
"We anticipated a lower turnout because of it, but went ahead as planned because people clearly want to know what these agreements actually mean for them day-to-day," he said.
David Begg, the general secretary of the ICTU addressing the crowd in Dublin, said it was hugely unfair that Irish people had paid 42 percent of the European banking debt burden, drawing widespread applause from protesters.
"It would be fatal for people to believe this issue is now resolved and we can all move on," he said.
In the crowd, a large number of public sector workers, frustrated by cuts in their basic pay and additional workplace demands, expressed anger at government plans to make further cuts in the sector.
"They want us to pay all their bills and we're getting tired of it now," said Patrick Healey, 57, a teacher who has seen his wages cut by 700 euros per month, or about 20 percent, in the last five years.
In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index eased 0.1 percent to 12,588.80 points and the Paris CAC 40 shed nearly 0.2 percent to 5,327.73 compared with the closing level of Friday.
"Without work for all there will not be dignity for all," the pontiff told several thousand uniformed and hard-hatted workers at the Ilva plant in the northwestern city of Genoa.
Almost a decade ago, Turkey Point was aiming to become one of the country's largest nuclear plants.
Index sees increase of 1.1 percent from April, according to official data
Oil prices tumble after OPEC extends production cuts
3 major indexes close with gains for fourth trading day in row
Agency expects China's financial strength ‘to erode somewhat over the coming years’
The British capital's FTSE 100 index of leading blue-chip companies wobbled between gains and losses during the day, before finally closing down 0.2 percent.
BIST 100 index opens 0.17 percent lower; US dollar/Turkish lira rate stands at around 3.57
With his tough rhetoric on winning back American jobs, President Trump's elevation to the White House has raised serious fears over a new protectionist era.
Southeast Asia's third-biggest economy expanded 5.6 percent on-year in January-March period, compared with 4.1 percent in the same period last year and 4.5 percent in October-December.
Uber Freight aims to connect truckers with shippers by taking piece of $256B industry