Irish Republican News · October 14, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Protest grows outside Central Bank in Dublin

An internet-based campaign of peaceful resistance to the political and economic corruption of the 26-County state has taken to the streets.

Part on an international movement for social change, the ‘Occupy Dame Street’ movement is maintaining a vocal and determined protest outside the 26-County state’s Central Bank in Dublin.

‘Occupy Dame Street’ describes itself as a people’s movement inspired by “nearly 1000 sister occupations in the evolving global movement initiated by the people of Iceland, Greece, Spain, and Tunisia.

“We use tactics of non-violence akin to the scenes of peaceful resistance in Tahrir Square and Wall Street. This is a diverse people’s initiative, unaffiliated with any political parties. We are the 99%.”

The ongoing camp-out at the Central Bank takes place amid a growing national and international debt crisis and continued uncertainty over the future of centralised Eurozone economic policy-making.

As part of the austerity measures implement by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year, the Dublin government this week announced that homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages due to the economic downturn, may be forced to forfeit their properties to the State. As a concession, it was allowed that the homes could be rented by their former owners under local council housing provisions.

The plan appears to have wrecked the hopes of tens of thousands of 26-County homeowners who had hoped they might see government assistance on a par with that afforded to the state’s insolvent financial institutions. A report this week indicated that the cost of doing so would be 14 billion euro -- a fraction of the funds already injected into the state banking system system -- but ruled out by the EU and IMF auditors who are monitoring government spending in Dublin.

Those most affected by the decision are young, middle-class couples who fell victim to a property craze which offered 100% mortgages for vastly overpriced houses -- ‘free’ on credit -- as recently as three years ago. While their lenders have been bailed out by the State, the homeowners, deep in negative equity and often jobless, will controversially see no reduction in their debts and only the spectre of their homes being turned into social (council) housing.

The plan also does not clarify the future of abandoned ‘ghost estates’, which many developers and bankers wish to see razed to the ground. Developers, bankers and the state-run NAMA ‘bad bank’, are all pushing to have dilapidated housing projects knocked to the ground in order to provide support to the property market. Despite the nationwide shortage of housing, three entire estates have already been demolished.

Sinn Fein has described the outline plan for dealing with the housing crisis as “short on detail and short on solutions”.


Meanwhile, it was revealed that cuts of close to one billion euro in the social welfare budget are being planned for next year as part of a four billion euro ‘adjustment’ of cuts and taxes. Amid daily revelations of corruption and greed by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition government, the cuts will hit the poorest and most needy of the state’s citizens.

One report this week implicated Labour leader Eamon Gilmore over his appointment of a former political colleague to a top judicial position at the High Court. One Fine Gael contributor has also received a plum judicial appointment, it was revealed.

In the Dublin parliament, Sinn Fein has repeatedly contrasted the outsize salaries and bonuses issued to government insiders with the increasingly difficult plight of those on welfare.

On the streets, the ‘Occupy Dame Street’ group says it is protesting for “equality and social justice”.

In a statement, the group said: “We say to the people of Ireland: if you have ever looked for an opportunity to engage in realistic change, this is the platform. Now is the time when the spirit of the revolt is spreading to other major cities and financial districts around the world. It is the duty of everyone to stand together against the endless greed and corruption on which our financial system is based.”


Meanwhile, a second opinion poll has confirmed that change is beginning to take place in the hearts and minds of the Irish people.

Sinn Fein is now the second largest party in the 26 Counties, above Labour and Fianna Fail, and behind only Fine Gael.

mary Lou McDonald said that many people who voted in the General Election for the government parties -- the Labour Party in particular -- feel utterly betrayed.

The Dublin Central TD said the poll is further evidence that Sinn Fein’s message of the need for real change is resonating with ever greater numbers of citizens.

“Citizens the length and breadth of this state reject the austerity approach of this government. They reject the notion that ordinary working families should pick up the tab for the reckless actions of bankers and the mismanagement of the economy by government. They reject the hand-over of sovereignty to the IMF and the EU.”

She said people voted in large numbers in the hope of real political change “not a continuation of the failed policies of the previous Fianna Fail-led administration. Unfortunately that is what they are getting.

“Every day we see evidence of the pain and distress caused by the government’s failed approach -- unemployment at an historic high, increased emigration, stealth taxes and attacks on welfare.

“The evidence is that given the chance, increasing numbers of people will not vote for parties, or candidates representing parties, who are implementing policies which are causing so much hardship and distress...

“Sinn Fein is offering more than just hope - we offer a real alternative and the people are responding.”

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© 2011 Irish Republican News