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It’s Time for Occupy Dame Street to quit too - Reality check for Irish protesters and politicians needed

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Aerial view of Occupy Dame Street protest

Irish people need to stop sitting and whinging on the sidelines if they truly want to affect change.


The days of Occupy Dame Street appear to be numbered. The Central Bank has finally had enough of the squatters camping on its doorstep and is rumoured to be seeking a Court Order to put an end to the protest.

The camp has been in situ for six weeks now and the only thing it has achieved is to show how lacking in ideas the movement has been.

It has no alternative plan, no suggestions nor indeed any tangible ideas of note.

This “leaderless resistance movement” if anything has only highlighted how the angst of a nation cannot be harnessed by sitting in a tent.

If people want change then they need to join together, formulate ideas and use the system to affect that change. The problem, however, is it is a lot easier to set up camp and moan from the sidelines.

Senator David Norris was the only Presidential candidate to visit the protestors. He was met with naive idealists who shouted garbage rather than put across coherent ideas, such as possible alternatives to the IMF and EU.
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As proceedings drifted into complete farce the Senator asked if there was anyone in charge to help direct dialogue. “There is no one in charge, we are all individuals!” came the seemingly well-rehearsed response. Individuals indeed.

Another asked the Senator, “Are you a sovereign man?” What the hell did this mean? We asked and nobody replied.

Like it or not we live in a democracy. So when we complain that the Government is raising VAT, slashing social welfare or reducing child benefit, it is not good enough to mutter into your pint or set up a tent outside the Central Bank.

If people don’t like what they see, they need to come up with viable alternatives. They need to put their principles on the line. Just like Luke “Ming” Flanagan has done. He is hardly a political insider, but has shown if you have determination and the support of your community you can get elected and try to make change.

While the Dublin 4 brigade scoff and chuckle at Ming as he cries, “blessed are the turf cutters”, at least he is pushing for change for his community.

Sadly, Irish people seem to prefer wallowing in despair and pointing the finger.

Indeed, while they are the very ones who voted in this new Government, they are seemingly amazed at the proposed toughness of the forthcoming budget.

There was a great quote from Monday morning’s breakfast programme on Newstalk, when presenter Ivan Yates bellowed, “This shower are as bad as the last Government!”

But when voters replaced one establishment centre-right political party for another establishment centre-right political party, what did they expect?

To hear Ivan Yates say on Newstalk that he was shocked that the new Government appears to be no different than the last one is somewhat disingenuous. As a former Fine Gael cabinet minister, Mr Yates would be only too aware that once Civil War politics is taken out of the argument few could credibly argue substantial policy differences between FF and FG when it comes to economics.
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Labour too, in its collation with FG, has woken up to the necessity of tough measures to ensure we have an economy worth fighting for in the coming years.

At present people seem anti everything, but most of all they are anti-reality. Ireland is experiencing one of its toughest challenges and the fact is those that can do and those that can’t sit in a tent.

It is time for Irish people to grow up. As Mary Robinson said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new beginning.”

But those on Dame Street might be starting to realise this cannot be achieved from inside a tent.


Paul Allen is Managing Director of Paul Allen and Associates PR, www.prireland.com

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