Protesting rising prices and housing shortages, thousands took to the streets of Dublin on Saturday. Including People Before Profit’s Galway representative Adrian Curran. The protestors called on the government to address the cost of living crisis.
Mr Curran believed the demonstration to be a big success and noted the substantial turnout of demonstrators demanding more be done about the cost of living crisis.
Telling Galway Pulse, “It went really, really well. The best estimate was that there were 20,000 people or so there. Which is fantastic to see coming out of the last couple of years. Where, obviously, turnout at these types of things was smaller, for obvious reasons.”
“So I felt like it’s kind of a return of people power to the streets.”
Highlighting Ireland’s capacity for change through similar movements. Mr Curran shared: “Over the last decade or so Ireland’s people power movements have won on water charges, and marriage equality and repeal.”
“We have shown that we can do what it takes. You know, organising and mobilising huge amounts of people across the country. Great energy at the march and there seems to be an appetite among people to carry on and become the organisers of these things. Which is what’s needed.”
“The aim of it is to apply pressure on the government”
Explaining the aims of the march was, “to apply pressure on the government in terms of the budgets that are being announced. For there to be real action in it and to help people with the cost of living and housing crisis, that we’re seeing.”
But while the large crowd was a positive sign, the PBP representative also shared his concerns over a lack of action.
“I don’t have any great beliefs that this government and their parties will take the type of action, that’s necessary to help people. But hopefully, you know, that kind of size, and display of people’s frustrations will lead to them giving us some sort of things that we need.”
The cost of living crisis is not only impacting those living in Galway. But is a national issue, with soaring fuel, heating, and food bills becoming a common experience across the country. However, there are some issues that are particularly bad in this specific area. Mr Curran cites Galway’s accommodation crisis as a major problem, especially for students.
Galway’s accommodation crisis
Saying, “It’s a complete catastrophe like there are students sleeping on couches, dropping out of college because of the accommodation situation.”
“So I think that’s kind of at a catastrophe-level in Galway, it needs really, really urgent action. And we’re not seeing action from anybody, not from the government, from a university, or anyone. It’s not being addressed as the kind of emergency that it is.”
“It’s a very big issue. And obviously, then students tend to be on lower incomes. And people on lower incomes generally suffer even more when it comes to food, inflation, and energy inflation, and so on.”
He also praised the student turnout at Saturday’s protest.
Organised by the Cost of Living Coalition, the march was supported by various trade unions, political parties, and community action groups.
The COLC is planning further demonstrations, with local protests taking place across the country on the 12th of November.
As Mr Curran said, “Richard Boyd Barrett announced it from the stage on Saturday, that the Cost of Living Coalition is going to hold protests in towns and cities all over the country on November 12, as our next day of action.”
“Assuming that budget doesn’t deliver on people’s need which I don’t really believe that it will.”