About 200 people turned out for a “pre-budget” protest in Waterford city at the weekend.
Protestors marched along the quay, up through the city centre, and then rallied at Ballybricken, where more than 15,000 people turned out three weeks ago against possible cost-cutting proposals to downgrade Waterford Regional Hospital.
The action was jointly organised by the Waterford Council of Trade Unions and the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes.
Other groups, including the Unite union, Sinn Féin, the Socialist Workers’ party, and the People Before Profit Alliance, also marched under banners.
Slogans such as “axe, axe, the household tax” were chanted on the march.
Independent TD John Halligan and Senator David Cullinane were among those to address the crowd in Ballybricken.
Tom Hogan, chairman of CAHWT, said yesterday: “Waterford City and county are faced with a mass unemployment rate of 20%.
“As domestic demand collapses, we see the blighting of retail and small business, we are facing a proposal to downgrade WRH, an amalgamation of the city and county councils, along with the prospect of further cuts in social, community, health, and welfare services.”
This would be the result of “a €4bn 2013 budget” that “will ensure further hardship”, said Mr Hogan, adding: “We know that next Wednesday, coming down the track, are going to be further hardships.”
He said the main parties, FG, FF “and now Labour”, were still in the hands of the bankers, the developers, and the builders.
“That’s why they are not going to be touched on Wednesday,” said Mr Hogan.
Sinn Féin senator Mr Cullinane added: “Austerity, and the policies of austerity, are simply not working.”
They are not working for families, they are not working for carers, they are not working for people with disabilities, he said.
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