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Big Turnout For Galway Protests

category galway | worker & community struggles and protests | news report author Saturday October 17, 2009 20:13author by Fred Johnstonauthor phone 087.2178138 Report this post to the editors

Sunshine and Solidarity in Galway

Representative Groups and Individuals March on Eyre Square
Young and Old Joined ranks under Galway Cathedral
Young and Old Joined ranks under Galway Cathedral

The mood was defiant and angry in Galway today, when the warm sunshine and blue skies encouraged a large crowd in the march against McCarthy-proposed cuts. A small group of City Councillors in the audience heard messages of defiance and fight from a variety of community associations, from a Travellers' group and Human Rights group across the spectrum of diverse other community groups threatened by McCarthy proposals which will hit dole payments and possibly CE or JI employments schemes.

One call was sent out to 'get back' the Christmas social welfare bonuses, which have been cut; this 'saving' contrasts wildly with bonuses awarded recently to Professor Brendan Drumm of the HSE, who is up to receive €70,000 - which saw Mary Harney amazingly washing her hands of the affair earlier this week - and revelations of Ceann Comhairle John O'Donoghue's massive expenses.

Brendan Smith speaks at Eyre Square
Brendan Smith speaks at Eyre Square

A tightly-packed Crowd at Eyre Square, Galway
A tightly-packed Crowd at Eyre Square, Galway

author by Gary L.publication date Sat Oct 17, 2009 20:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Great stuff!

author by lulupublication date Sun Oct 18, 2009 13:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Keep at 'em!

author by margaretta - Galway Shell to Seapublication date Sun Oct 18, 2009 21:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In all my 50 years in Galway I never experienced such a feeling of unity, such determination to serve and save our communities. The only thing that marred the occasion for me was when a young garda decided that it was up to him to decide what groups of people could be allowed a legitimate role in the march. Whenever such a variegated gathering took place his antennae lifted up (it seemed) to search for and find an area of threat. On Saturday Galway Shell to Sea was his area of threat, and he tried unsuccessfully to stop us taking part. We were not welcome, he told us, not part of the community, our message was not relevant to the cuts. Was he afraid that if connections were made between the cuts and the Great Gas Giveaway, and that if there were to be a strong national demand for the redrafting of our gas and oil licensing laws, then Shell and the Government might be forced to surrender to public opinion, the efforts of his massed colleagues at Rossport would be shown to have been in vain, and the flood of their overtime-wages all of a sudden cut short? The Gardaí have long been notorious for their unofficial enemy-list. Republicans of all brands used to be (and probably still are) top of the page; has Shell to Sea been added as Number Two? If so, by what right? The guards themselves have been making their own protests in these days of “sharing the pain” – it is scandalous that they should attempt to veto the resistance of others.

author by Jackie Rooney - Action For Equality Galwaypublication date Mon Oct 19, 2009 09:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Saturday 17th of october 2009 was a great day for the people of Galway as a whole, as well as for the Community and Voluntary groups who organised the march. Taking part in the march you couldn't help being buoyed up by the atmosphere, and by the diversity of groups taking part. The elderly, the disabled, womens groups, travellers and other ethnic minorities, residents groups from many of the cities disadvantaged areas came together with the community and voluntary workers who support and sustain them. This was not a day for the voices of others, it was a day for Galwegians,it was a day of the coming together of the disadvantaged in our society whose message was loud, proud and clear-GALWEGIANS HAVE HAD ENOUGH! Partisan as that sounds, these were the ordinary women, men and children of Galway sending a message to our local politicians, that we are tired of being the scapegoats for the greed and shortsightedness of others. We were pointing out to those in power that to cut funding to these sectors and to the people represented by them is to invite social meltdown, as one speaker put it. In economic terms taking from the bottom makes no sense. We are a small economy acting like a big one for the benefit of a few. One of the highest paid heads of government in the world? A government jet? Ministerial cars and bodyguards? Massive pensions for retired Ministers? A grossly overpaid upper echilon in the Civil Service? Seemingly bottomless expense accounts? This is the madness we cannot sustain, not the meagre pittance handed out to Community and Voluntary groups, who could teach the government how to give value for money. We are asking for social justice, for some return to morality by our leaders, and lads, lets start looking at different ways of thinking, we're a small country, start thinking and acting the part.

author by Charles Drakepublication date Mon Oct 19, 2009 15:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Whenever such a variegated gathering took place his antennae lifted up (it seemed) to search for and find an area of threat. On Saturday Galway Shell to Sea was his area of threat, and he tried unsuccessfully to stop us taking part. We were not welcome, he told us, not part of the community, our message was not relevant to the cuts"........Margaretta

Perhaps your message was off topic and not relevant to the cuts Margaretta . There is often a problem when people think that they have a right to express their opinions on any matter they like whenever they feel like it without regard to the appropriate procedures . The gardai are then put in the unenviable position of deciding who the genuine activists are and who are just out to make trouble needlessly.

Galway left activists are often at each others throats - sometimes over real political disagreement ,but at other times trivial personality clashes can lead to clashes .Even differences over poetry can boil over as we have seen on Indymedia . Somebody has to moderate on these matters surely .

On a positive note , a big thanks to whoever it was that took the photos. Paula G has done some outstanding photographic work in the past for this site . It's good to see that somebody in Galway has followed her excellent example.Keep up the good work.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Mon Oct 19, 2009 15:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I - a poet - took these photos and I think a record of what people do is very necessary, so my sincere thanks. I agree that things in small towns tend to spill over in all manner of unhelpful ways and there is no doubt that, amongst both the Left in Galway and in its arts' community there are divisions, sometimes these latter are fostered as a sort of arts' politicking by those who want control. But we go on.

author by Raymondpublication date Mon Oct 19, 2009 19:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some more photos from the Cuts Protest





author by Raymondpublication date Mon Oct 19, 2009 19:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And last few




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