LAST Sunday, a group of 20 gathered in Tulla in protest of the Government’s policy to bailout banks rather than people.
The newly formed group is determined to follow Ballyhea’s example and have regular gatherings every Sunday from now on to create awareness.
The gathering itself is not linked to any political party and is not intended to offer solutions but to initiate discussions about possible alternatives.
Speaking about the protest, Stiofán Schmeitz, from Glendree in Feakle, said leading by example is the key to trigger other initiatives and that was what happened in this case as they followed the initiative taken by the community in Ballyhea, County Cork.
“I think it is important that each protest or meeting is established by local people and not by outsiders. There are 3.7 million people living outside Dublin. Rather than trying to gather 100,000 people for a protest in Dublin, imagine 50 to 100 people gathering in each and every town across the country simultaneously on Sundays, with cities like Galway, Limerick, Cork and so on adding a few thousand. That would send a very strong message if not to our Government, then surely to the world,” Stiofán said.
Last Sunday’s event came about as Stiofán encouraged his friends on social media to get involved and spread the word. He also put up flyers in the local shops in Tulla and Scariff a few days before. He is hoping others will join the protest this Sunday.
Although his address is Feakle, Stiofán felt as he was half way between Feakle and Tulla that Tulla was a good starting point and hopes this idea could be rolled out to Feakle also.
“A network is establishing itself right now. Next Saturday, representatives of current or planned groups will meet in Charleville Park Hotel to help spread the word and get advice from those who are entering their third year of protest in Ballyhea. I am confident that it will have a real impact. The fall of the Berlin Wall was preceded by weekly marches in all major cities with people chanting ‘we are the people’. It was always peaceful and started off with a couple of hundred people leading to the complete disintegration of the East Block. People have power. They only need to gain the confidence that they do. We cannot do this alone and ask all people regardless of their background to join us at least once and a while,” he said.
The group is not affiliated with any political party or stream because Stiofán believes this situation is so serious it requires all people to stand united.
He added that he is not offering any solutions but rather offers a forum for people demonstrate their dissatisfaction.
“Creating awareness is one goal but inviting people to engage themselves is the stronger message we want to send. Regardless of what political background people are coming from, no matter what their preference, the draining of public funds to bailout private companies has to stop in order for our economy to recover. This is the common denominator linking the people who join the event.
“Eventually, we hope that there are similar events held at the same time in every village, town and city across the country, sending a strong message to the Government that they cannot continue ignoring the needs of the people,” he said.
“Everybody is invited to join us or any other similar event that are held across the country now and engage in discussions about possible alternatives. Everyone seems to be waiting for the saviour to get us out of the mess but it is us who need to initiate change,” Stiofán concluded.
Last Sunday, over 20 people attended the event in Tulla and it is planned to continue a gathering each Sunday in Tulla from 11.30am to 12.30pm at the courthouse.