Estimated 45,000 turn out for bank debt protest

Gardaí estimate around 45,000 turned out for today's nationwide protest against Ireland's bank debt burden.

Just over half of those attended the march in Dublin, with the remainder scattered across counties Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Sligo.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions decided to go ahead with the day of protest despite a deal being struck on the promissory notes.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett says people are fed up and he now expects the campaign of opposition to grow.

“The deal is a hoax, it’s a puff of smoke,” he said. “Nothing has changed. In fact, if anything, the debt has been firmly pinned to the backs of ordinary people and I think today’s demonstration proves ordinary people in this country haven’t been fooled by the hype.”

An estimated eight thousand people marched in Limerick.

Socialist Party member Cian Prenderville, who was among the marchers on Shannonside, says the government don't deserve any credit for delaying the repayment of bonds to the former Anglo Irish Bank.

“They’re trying to get us to celebrate 40 years of pain. They’re trying to make it seem like it’s a great victory. I wouldn’t give them any credit.”

ICTU General Secretary David Begg added: “It would be fatal for people to believe this issue is now resolved and we can all move on.”

He added: “February 9 is an opportunity to tell the authorities in Europe that the bank debt does not belong to the people of Ireland.

“At the onset of the crisis Ireland had one of the lowest debt to GDP ratios in Europe. The difference between then and now is due entirely to Ireland socialising bank debt at the behest of the ECB, to save the European banking system.”

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