Limerick city centre came to a standstill this afternoon as up to 8,000 people took part in an anti-austerity march.
The march, which was organised by the Limerick Council of Trade Unions, began at the Mechanics Institute on Hartstonge Street and passed along Henry Street, Arthur’s Quay, Patrick Street and O’Connell Street before a rally was held at Pery Square.
Workers from across Limerick as well as from Tipperary and Clare all took part in the march.
Addressing the crowds, Andy Pike of Impact called for bankers and politicians to be prosecuted and jailed for their roles in the economic crisis, like has happened in Iceland.
“In Iceland they had a way of dealing with the crisis by putting the corrupt bankers up on trial - three weeks ago they jailed two more bankers for several years. They even put their ex-prime minister up in court charged with negligence. When are we going to see something like that happen here?” he said.
Teachers, nurses, electricians, journalists, officer workers and carpenters who are employed in both the public and private sectors were amongst those who took part in today’s march to highlight their frustrations.
Brendan O’Rielly,45, from Rathkeale has worked as a plumber with Limerick County Council for 27 years.
The father-of-two says he is finding it very difficult to survive at present. “I’ve a mortgage over my neck and two boys to rear. We’re paid fortnightly now and if I have €50 left to do me for the two weeks that’s it that’s the most,” he said.
Noel Bolster,60, from Ballysimon who works for a transport company says he is at his wits end.
“Even though we are supposed to have gotten a reasonably good deal, the austerity is still there and the bankers haven’t paid anything towards it, the working class people are carrying the can and that’s why I’m here - I object to be screwed left, right and centre for taxes,” he said.
Mike McNamara, president of the Limerick Council of Trade Unions, said he was pleased with the turnout for today’s march.
“We are very pleased with the turnout today, we had anticipated a very large crowd and it has exceeded out expectations and the mood of the people is very positive to send their message loud and clear to the Government that enough is enough and we can’t take this much longer,” he said.
For further coverage and pictures, see Monday Limerick Leader, tabloid edition.