Varadkar on brink: Hundreds march against Irish election stich-up – ‘LEO OUT!’

Posted on Mar 8 2020 - 11:09pm by admin

Ireland’s two right-of-centre parties are predicted to form the next government, a move characterised as “shameful” by some commentators. Close to 300 people gathered in Dublin’s city centre on Saturday protesting against a Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael government coalition. Organised by left-wing People Before Profit, the demonstration started outside the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square before moving down to the Spire on O’Connell street with dozens of people carrying posters with the words “Kick out FF and FG” accompanied by chants of “Leo, Leo, Leo, out! Out! Out!”

Solidarity People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith, who led the speeches before the protest began, described negotiations between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to form the next government as “shameful”.

Ms Smith said: “This election was all about delivering change on the key issues of housing, health, childcare, cost of living, farmers, students.

“We think that change will not be represented by these two conservative forces who have allowed this country to become a tax haven for the wealthy and who don’t deliver the basic public services that are needed.

“Real change is driven from below.

“If we have a stitch-up they will fail again.”

Ms Smith said: “This election was all about delivering change on the key issues of housing, health, childcare, cost of living, farmers, students.

“We think that change will not be represented by these two conservative forces who have allowed this country to become a tax haven for the wealthy and who don’t deliver the basic public services that are needed.

“Real change is driven from below. If we have a stitch-up they will fail again.”

READ MORE: Varadkar attacks Sinn Fein as Irish election turns nasty

She said she had received numerous calls and messages from people eager to take part in Saturday’s protest but worried about mixing in a big crowd.

She said: “Don’t be afraid, just be careful and take the precautions that have been well covered by the HSE.

“If you believe that you may have been in touch with somebody who’s ill now, or you’ve come from part of the world that’s been infected, it might be wise to march towards the back rather than the middle of the crowd.”

Paul Murphy of the Rise political party said “establishment parties” were attempting to stymie the change that was voted for on February 8th.

He also encouraged Sinn Féin to participate in future protests and called for “a left government or at least an alternative government that excludes both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael”.

Oisín McNeill from Extinction Rebellion told the crowd that the last government had failed to implement a “just transition” from a carbon-based economy which protects the welfare of farmers.

Mr McNeill also warned that a Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael coalition would result in fracked gas from the United States being imported into Ireland through the Shannon Liquefied Natural Gas terminal and pipeline.

Trinity College student union president Laura Betson warned of the lack of financial support for students through the Susi (Student Universal Support Ireland) grant and criticised universities for increasing accommodation costs.

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