Derry Against Fuel Poverty ralley in Derry today

Protesters gathered in Waterloo place on Saturday, April 2 for a protest against the rising energy prices.

The protest was organised by grassroots organisation Derry Against Fuel Poverty.

Speaking at the event, organiser Sinead Quinn said: “Since we met last, we had a special meeting in the council on the cost of living crisis. We covered it extensively. We sat in the council building and we were so disgusted at the lack of action at that meeting.

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“Firmus was the final nail in the coffin this week. A 16% increase. That’s on top of the 194% we’ve been paying since last April. Derry and the Ten Towns are paying more than anybody else on these two islands and that hasn’t changed. We are still paying more. Not one politician can tell us why. Why is Derry paying over the odds?”

Some of the crowd at the Derry Fuel Poverty Rally in Waterloo Place on Sunday afternoon last. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2213GS – 066

Eamonn McCann said: “When they try to price us out of means to heat out homes, that’s class war. What you have to do is fight back. How do you do that? The way we always do it; by standing here in the centre of this town. There isn’t as many of us as there aught to be but we’re standing together. People are entitled to differing political views but those who are still standing in the street fighting at the end are the winners. We will be standing on the street at the end because it’s a just and fair cause that we stand for.”

Joe Moore from the Derry Trade Union Council said: “Movements like this are so important. There has been a lot of excuses made about why nothing has been done about the cost of fuel and the living crisis.

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Politicians write the laws that allow the big companies to profit from this but they won’t change until it’s in their best interest to listen, until we make them listen. That’s why we need all the working class people to rise up together and demand that our leaders build the country that we want.

“For the politicians that enable profiteering from poverty and the energy companies that are raking in profits on the back of that poverty, let me explain what they’re responsible for:

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People hold posters at the Derry Fuel Poverty Rally in Waterloo Place on Sunday afternoon last. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2213GS – 067

“The British Medical Association, in association with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, did a survey in 2017 into poverty and childhood. What they found was; ‘babies born in the poorest areas weigh, on average, 200 grams less than those in the richest areas.’ That’s what poverty does. ‘Babies living in poverty are also more likely to die in their first year of life’. that’s what poverty does.

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“The cost of living crisis is an attack on the working class. We have no choice but to stand up and bring about change ourselves.”