Dublin: Nine Day Protest March From Kilkenny Reaches Dail Eireann: UPDATED

27 Jan

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A nine day protest march by eight men from south Kilkenny ended today when they finally reached Leinster House a little after 2pm.

The men – who had set out from Kilmacow in south Kilkenny – were met at the gates of Leinster House by Sinn Féin’s Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin who congratulated them on finishing their protest and said that they had helped “to inspire the people.”

Each of the ‘Kilmacow eight’ had their own specific reasons for marching but said that they were united in their anger over the lack of job prospects for young people in Ireland.

They presented Mr Ó Caoláin with ‘the eight demands by the eight walkers’ and asked him to take their grievances to other TDs.

These demands included a halving of the number of TDs along with their wages, the abolition of the Seanad, social welfare for the self employed and the right to vote for Irish emigrants.

One of the protestors, Stephen Tobin, arrived at the gates of Leinster House on crutches after hurting himself yesterday.

“I got shin splints and just went through six or seven miles on crutches yesterday evening and the same all of this morning” he said.

Despite his injury getting worse all the time, Mr Tobin said that “it was well worth every bit of it” and that he never thought of stopping.

The men, who ranged in age between 34 and 64, carried signs bearing the slogans “stop the talking and start the walking” and “our children are not for export”.

Spokesman for the group, John Kavanagh praised the “unbelievable support from all walks of life” that they had received on their walk.

In a speech outside Leinster House, he urged people that if they had grievances with the Government, to “put that grievance in the ballot box” by voting against them.

“Even though we are very concerned about the future of our nation, we have no doubt that the Irish people are the best people in the world, and the best people in the world deserve to have the best politicians in Leinster House.

“I hope that God will forgive Fianna Fáil and the Green coalition because the men from Kilkenny won’t” he said.

NEWS UPDATE:

Four men protesting over the economic crisis have taken in the sites of Ireland’s patriot past as they ended a 160km march at the Dail.

 The men and supporters visited Kilmainham Gaol and went on to the scene of Robert Emmet’s execution before hundreds more joined them at the GPO and a picket at Leinster House.

John Kavanagh, Stephen Tobin and father and son Ned and Dermot Murray trekked four days from south Kilkenny in anger over tough Budget measures, and demanded the Government slash TDs’ wages and scrap the planned Universal Social Charge.

Mr Kavanagh accepted nothing would come of their action but said they wanted to vent their anger.

“For a long number of months we’ve been very disillusioned with the country, the way it’s going with the economy and how downhearted the people were,” the 42-year-old said.

“It was just our own personal protest. We felt we had to do something because we felt that we weren’t being represented by any of the political parties that were in power.”

After getting inspiration from the capital’s historical sites the men sang rebel songs outside the gates of Leinster House including In Dublin’s Fair City and A Nation Once Again.

They were met by Sinn Fein Dail leader Caoimhghin O Caolain who took their letter containing eight actions they wanted the Government to take, including reducing the pension levy, scrapping the Universal Social Charge outlined in the Budget, cutting TDs’ wages by 50% and not allowing TDs to draw down their pensions until they turn 65.

Ned Murray, a laid-off gas contractor, said they had listened to the concerns of people as they travelled up from Kilkenny.

“They’ve (Government) ruined what should have been the best country in Europe, if not the world, and walking up through the countryside and talking to the people and how we were screwed, and how we were all screwed,” the 64-year-old said.

The demands from the eight walkers 

– Halve the number of TDs and halve their wages

– No pensions for ministers or TDs until 65 years of age.

– Abolish the Seanad.

– Give our exported generation their vote.

– Reverse the pension levy

Social welfare for self employed

– Remove the tax on savings

– Genuine apology from our failed politicians.

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