More than 200 attend anti-budget protest

Attending Sunday's protest in Buncrana are, from left, Seamus Gill, Colr. Ciaran McLaughlin, Colr. Mary Kelly, Colr. Jack Murray, Joe Murphy, Colr. Michael Grant and Bridget Makowski. (1001PG51)
Attending Sunday's protest in Buncrana are, from left, Seamus Gill, Colr. Ciaran McLaughlin, Colr. Mary Kelly, Colr. Jack Murray, Joe Murphy, Colr. Michael Grant and Bridget Makowski. (1001PG51)
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Upwards of 200 people attended the second anti-budget protest organised in Buncrana on Sunday.

Throughout Donegal people gathered to voice their opinions and speak out about the austerity cuts imposed by the recent budget.

The protests, which were held in towns and villages across Donegal, were organised by a number of interest groups from the county including Donegal Action for Cancer Care, Joe Murphy from the 25mph Protest, Forum4Change, the Abolish VRT campaign, Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, and John McLaughlin from the JML diesel protest.

In Buncrana, Joe Murphy was joined by local Town Councillors and activists, including former Shannon Town Councillor, Bridget Shiels Makowski, who all addressed the growing crowd.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ yesterday, Mr Murphy said he was delighted with the turnout they received right across the county.

“Many of the protests, held in towns such as Newtowncunningham and Gleenely, were done at the last minute so I was out in the van all weekend trying to gather people’s attention and get people out.

“We were really happy with the response. I think more and more people are coming on board because they feel they have no other choice. Families are being forced to make a decision whether to pay a bill or feed their families, they just don’t have the money anymore.”

The Buncrana man said he is getting a lot of calls from pensioners in the area, worried about news from the Revenue that some pensioners may have to repay tax.

“This doesn’t apply to a large majority of people who have rung me but a lot of people out there are understandably worried about these things. It is just another example of how people can’t pay.”

Mr Murphy also pointed to the recent petrol hike as an added burden on people.

“The 2% VAT increase and petrol hike has hit people hard.” “I think politicians are avoiding the real issues and I don’t think Fine Gael are fit for purpose in running the government. But everyone is involved here - Fianna Fail and the Greens for starting the trouble, Fine Gael and Labour for not fixing problems and the opposition parties for not being vocal enough.

“We’re asking people to show some backbone and get behind the people of Donegal. It’s time to take off the party badges and hats and stand with the people of Donegal.”