Protest walk to Dublin enters second week

Carolyn Farrar

Reporter:

Carolyn Farrar

The Donegal Action Against Austerity protest expects to leave Donegal today as participants continue their walk to Dublin to oppose government austerity measures.

The Donegal Action Against Austerity protest expects to leave Donegal today as participants continue their walk to Dublin to oppose government austerity measures.

Joe Murphy, the Buncrana man who came up with the idea of the walk, said their message is straightforward.

“Donegal’s not going to lie down and have these austerity measures forced upon us. It’s as simple as that,” Joe said, speaking by mobile phone as he and the other protesters neared Laghey, after leaving Donegal Town.

They also want people to join them at the Dáil on March 31st, when they expect to bring the protest to Dublin.

The group hoped to be near Ballyshannon by the time they finished yesterday and had permits to fund raise in Bundoran and Ballyshannon. The protest, which began at Malin Head on Friday, is collecting for cancer services along the way.

The response has been very good, Joe said. Hotels, cafes, pubs and shops have treated the group to tea and food. A woman in Burnfoot invited them into her home -- there were about 25 then, Joe said -- and gave them tea and sandwiches.

People clap from the footpaths as the protest enters a town, and people come out of their homes to talk with them as they walk past. Different people have joined the walk at different points, with as many as 30 people taking part on Sunday. There were about 10 people walking yesterday, as they approached Laghey.

Community activist Lawrence McManus of Pettigo, who walked yesterday, is also involved in the Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay campaign.

“We’re all doing the one thing,” Lawrence said. “We’re standing up to the government.”

Joe said the group will work to encourage people to meet at the Dáil at the end of the month. “The priority is to get people down to Dublin for the 31st of March,” he said.