Campaigners who forced the abandonment of a council meeting have warned politicians to expect more protests as anger grows.
John Lonergan, a spokesman for the Campaign Against Household and Water Charges, defended how protesters interrupted Monday’s meeting of Cork City Council.
“This building belongs to the people of Cork.
“We wanted local politicians to know that their time in those seats is marked. They must respect the people who voted them in. People who are paid monthly will get their first wage packet since the budget [changes came into effect] either this week or next week and there will be a backlash. The people of Ireland will turn against this government.”
Mr Lonergan, a married father of one, began working at the age of 13 but lost his job in a forklift company in 2008. “I lost my job over recklessness by the Government, bankers and speculators.”
Married to a home-help worker who has had her hours cut, he said if she loses any more hours, they may not be able to make mortgage repayments. “People are on the breadline as it is. I’m looking at just surviving at the moment.”
Socialist Party Cllr Mick Barry, a member of the campaign, said the protest is a clear sign that there will be a real fight against the property tax, which comes into effect in July.
“Fine Gael and Labour will feel a lot of heat from campaigners and ordinary people on this issue over the coming weeks,” he said.
Worker’s Party Cllr Ted Tynan said the protest was completely justified.
“Councillors and others are getting all hot and bothered because people are standing up for once and making their voices heard… Democracy means ‘rule of the people’ and if the people are consistently ignored then they must reassert that democracy.”
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