Dublin Council of Trade Unions march against austerity, Dublin 24th November 2012

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Statement by Michael O’Reilly, President of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions, following the Anti-Austerity March yesterday (Saturday)

Speaking after yesterday’s Anti-Austerity march in Dublin, which saw around 20,000 people from a wide range of trade unions and civil society groups raise their voices against austerity in advance of the Budget, DCTU President Michael O’Reilly said the march was just one step in an ongoing campaign.  Expressing disappointment that a small minority of protesters chose to disrupt the address by Congress President Eugene McGlone, Mr O’Reilly said he would be seeking an early meeting with the other organisations involved in organising the march to ensure that future events planned by what he termed the ‘anti-austerity coalition’ were not marred by similar incidents.

Mr O’Reilly also said the DCTU would be entering dialogue with its affiliate unions regarding the possibility of concerted action next March, when another €3.1 billion is due to be paid to Anglo Irish.

“Some months ago, the DCTU started forging a broad civil society alliance aimed at mobilising people to say ‘Enough is enough – neither our economy nor our society can afford further cuts’.  The fundamental principle underpinning the trade union movement is solidarity, and yesterday was an impressive demonstration of that solidarity between trade unions and a wide range of civil society groups affected by continuing austerity policies”, Mr O’Reilly said.

“The Dublin Council of Trade Unions respects the fact that all unions affiliated to the Council are democratically accountable to their own membership.  We especially commend SIPTU and other unions in both the private and public sectors for their role in mobilising for yesterday’s march and helping make the day the huge success it was.

“Members of the trade union movement have worked tirelessly to highlight the harm being done by the austerity policies adopted by the current and previous governments.  We were extremely disappointed that a small minority of protesters saw fit to disrupt the address by Congress President Eugene McGlone.  Successful movements for change must be built on mutual respect, and we will be reviewing yesterday’s events together with the other groups involved in organising the march to ensure that this ‘anti-austerity coalition’ is not marred by such incidents in the future.

“Yesterday was just one step in a campaign which will see further mobilisation on Budget day.  The possibility of concerted action to coincide with the Anglo payment of 3.1 billion next March should also be considered, and to that end the Dublin Council of Trade Unions will also be entering dialogue with our affiliate unions and the rest of the coalition”, Mr O’Reilly concluded.