Protest causes rift in austerity campaign

Several prominent members of Donegal Action Against Austerity have quit the campaigning group, following the participation of other members in Monday’s protest at Loreto Community School in Milford.

Several prominent members of Donegal Action Against Austerity have quit the campaigning group, following the participation of other members in Monday’s protest at Loreto Community School in Milford.

“We found this to be totally disrespectful to the pupils, their parents, school staff and local community,” said Betty Holmes of Donegal Action for Cancer Care (DACC), a founding member of Donegal Action Against Austerity (DACC). “The ethos of DACC is one of respect for everyone,” she said.

DACC resigned from the group, “with much upset and disappointment,” Betty said. “This group had such great potential to bring about major changes for Donegal people, which we feel has now been lost,” she said.

DAAA had issued a statement on Tuesday saying that as a group they had made a decision to stay away from the protest. But Joe Murphy of Buncrana, another founding member of DAAA; Seamus Kee, DAAA chairperson; and other members attended Monday’s protest, some wearing high-visiblity vests with the DAAA name on them.

At the protest an egg was thrown at the car carrying the taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD, to the secondary school. The taoiseach was coming to Milford to present a major technology award to the Loreto school.

Joe said no members of DAAA were involved in the egg-throwing, and condemned the act.

This morning, Ryan Stewart, former PRO of Donegal Action Against Austerity, also issued a statement announcing the resignation of several other founding DAAA members, including himself, Convoy haulier John McLaughlin and Trevor Kilpatrick.

DAAA “was never about being an out-and-out protest group,” the statement said. “All of us have worked extremely hard, and given up valuable time campaigning against austerity measures, getting information out into the public domain, opening doors to get access to those in power, and put the ordinary person’s views on the table.”

Betty said the decision was not personal.

“I honestly believe that the members of DAAA are all still good people and do have something to contribute to their issues and a wider agenda,” he said.