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.
The 3 countries are agreed to expand scope of free trade deals by 2017, says Turkish economy minister
Under current conditions, the IEA expects global output to exceed demand until the second half of 2017, Fatih Birol told journalists on the sidelines of an energy conference in Singapore.
The decision comes as the steel arm of the sprawling $100 billion conglomerate struggles to offload its loss-making British assets while its carmaking business continues to be plagued by weak sales.
Water quality and shortages also remain threat to health of many with onset of diseases
Bank expects ‘solid rise in energy prices, led by oil' next year
Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile said in a statement the bank would remain open, continue to operate normally and that the central bank would protect deposits.
Four presidents meet, but hopes of diplomatic breakthrough for cease-fire in eastern Ukraine remain low
Having taken years to negotiate, some producers voiced impatience for the deal to now be finally sealed; others simply fail to see why anyone would reject it.
"The value of this project will be $10 billion with a final production level of 600,000 barrels of oil per day," he said in Tehran.
Bangladesh has been one of the worst victims of global warming, with thousands of people being killed by cyclones in recent years that have become more frequent and deadlier.
Exporting Israeli gas via Turkey to Europe is viable option, says Israeli Energy Minister
French energy group EDF views Turkey as 'growth country' with more room for nuclear, renewable and hydro projects, VP says
"If OPEC sticks to its new target, the market's rebalancing could come faster," it said.
Further warrants issued against police suspected of using ByLock messaging service
A stock index of firms compliant with the principles of Islamic Sharia law, in cooperation with Bosna Bank International was launched today
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev says bilateral energy projects with Turkey play key role for energy security in region