By David Young, PA
Campaigners and opposition politicians have urged people to take to the streets on Saturday in rallies protesting about the cost of living crisis.
Demonstrations organised by the Cost of Living Coalition are planned for Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Sligo.
Addressing an event in Dublin to promote the weekend protests, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald criticised the Government for failing to commit to further support measures before October’s Budget.
“The idea that the Government would simply sit on their hands and ask people to wait until October is just unacceptable,” she said.
“So, Saturday is a moment of opportunity for people to come out to have their voices heard to make it very, very clear to this out-of-touch Government that we need action now.
“If they wait until October, arguably a lot of the measures, whatever they might be, won’t take effect until the new year.
“That’s unthinkable – it’s unthinkable to ask families, to ask workers, to ask whole communities to simply muddle by under the kind of pressures that they’re under between now and the autumn time and into the winter.”
— Cost of living coalition (@COLCIreland) June 15, 2022
The Government has so far resisted calls for a so-called “mini budget” ahead of the autumn to roll out further measures for families.
However, it has denied allegations that it has been slow to act on the issue, highlighting that the steps it has taken to tackle cost-of-living pressures since last October add up to €2.5 billion.
People Before Profit TB Richard Boyd Barrett, who is convenor of the Cost of Living Coalition, told the event that the Government needs to take “immediate, urgent and serious action” over cost-of-living pressures.
“People are suffering now, and we’re urging them to come out on the streets this Saturday in Dublin and the other locations across the country to put as much pressure as we can on this Government to take urgent and serious measures to address the cost-of-living and the housing crisis, which are causing so much hardship and suffering for people in this country,” he said.
#CostOfLivingDemo on Saturday #June18 'the Government needs to bring forward measures urgently to address the rising pressures on workers on their families - we need action now', Congress. pic.twitter.com/YsBze8h2R7
— Irish Congress (ICTU) (@irishcongress) June 15, 2022
In a statement supporting the protests, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions said: “ICTU are strongly of the view that the Government needs to bring forward measures urgently to address the rising pressures on workers and their families.
“Workers’ wages are being eroded and devalued on foot of this cost-of-living crisis and strong interventions from the Government are required immediately.
“We cannot wait until people are overcome by the cost-of-living crisis, we need action now.”
Anti-homelessness campaigner Father Peter McVerry also attended Wednesday morning’s event in Dublin.
“We are facing a housing catastrophe which is only going to get worse,” he said.
“Houses are becoming more and more unaffordable for ordinary people. Rents continue to rise to unaffordable levels. There are some solutions which we could implement immediately.”
Sue Shaw, chief executive of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, said: “Pensioners cannot take any more. Electricity is up by 41 per cent, home heating oil by over 100 per cent.
“It has become impossible to pay for all of this out of the state pension. We need to send a strong message to the Government. I urge everyone to come out and join us on Saturday.”