The march against the governmental decision to seek financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was the topic of a staff-student meeting held on November 23rd in the Newman building, arranged by the trade union SIPTU
SIPTU’s Education Sector Secretary, Tommy Murtagh, opened the meeting in Theatre Q, as an open discussion for people to vent and discuss the course of action to take and to encourage both students and staff to participate in the march that was being organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).
SIPTU’s Education Sector President and UCD Sociology lecturer Dr Kieran Allen expressed disappointment at turnout at the staff-student meeting and was optimistic for a higher UCD turnout at the march itself, in spite of a haziness surrounding the purpose of it: “Now we’re in a situation where the march on Saturday will hopefully be well attended, but I have found it very, very difficult to explain to people why we are marching, what is the point?”
Dr Allen addressed the open forum by citing a recent poll on the Joe Duffy’s show “where people were asked were you happier this week than you were last week and twice as many people said they were happier now that the IMF had came in” and made a stance. Having outside experts in peoples’ opinions is going to rectify the situation stemming from “the profound dislike for the government.”
With the name ‘A better, fairer way’, Garda estimates claimed that 50,000 people assembled at Wood Quay for what was intended to be a peaceful demonstration, but estimates ranged from 50,000 to 100,000. A SIPTU press release issued prior to the march said, “the publication of the Government’s budgetary plan meant it was now ‘imperative for working people and their families to join the national demonstration on Saturday, November 27’”.
Irish Times columnist Fintan O’ Toole addressed the marchers, saying that “the country was paying billions to bail out the banks and that the Government had declared war on the poor”. He said Irish people were “not subjects, but citizens, and wanted their republic back”.