A huge demonstration involving an estimated 120,000 people has been held in Dublin to protest against the Irish government’s handling of the economic crisis.
Public sector workers in particular fiercely oppose new legislation that will see pension contributions from their pay packets increased. Many workers claim they are being made to pay for the failure of the banks, while the banking sector itself is being bailed out. The government of Taoiseach Brian Cowen admits the measures may be painful but says they are necessary in the current economic climate. Cowen is under pressure to reduce what is now Europe’s biggest budget deficit at 9.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product. The EU’s limit is set at three per cent.