A meeting in Donegal Town of the Donegal, Sligo & Leitrim branch of the Irish Road Haulage Association has voted unanimously to join a national protest on the streets of the capital in the coming weeks.
The news follows similar votes held earlier this week in Cork, Galway, Roscommon, Mayo and Limerick earlier in the week, and further votes are expected over the coming week.
The news was welcomed by local haulier, John McLaughlin from Convoy, who organised a similar protest in Letterkenny this time last year.
Speaking after the meeting which was attended by 60 drivers, John McLaughlin from JML Diesel protest said: “It was the right decision. Other branches are meeting this week, and we are expecting a similar response from them. Over the next fortnight, the Irish Road Haulage Association will be calling an Emergency General Meeting to decide on how, and when, to conduct the protest.
“It’s important, not just for the haulage industry, but for everyone across the country, and we are expecting strong support for the protest. We have laid our demands on the table before, but it appears that civil servants with no knowledge about the industry are deciding our fate, using incorrect information, and basing their policies on opinion rather than fact. We have now presented the facts to the Department, and this time we will be heard, and if no action is taken, further protests will follow.
“The government have an opportunity, and if they do not take this chance, we will bring the capital to a standstill.”
Mr McLaughlin has taken his own protest further in recent weeks, and along with other campaign groups in Donegal, has established Donegal Action Against Austerity. Also at the meeting in Donegal Town was fellow group member Ryan Stewart, who is calling on campaigners across the country to take part in a National Day of Protest.
Mr Stewart told donegaldaily.com: “The austerity measures we have had imposed on us recently are not confined to the haulage industry. The hauliers have an agenda of their own, and that has to be respected – they cannot act on behalf of the whole country. Everyone is affected, and while we welcome the move from the hauliers, we want other groups to take this opportunity to get their arguments on the table as well, whether it is in relation to the household charge, student fees increases, septic tank charges or carbon tax and fuel prices.”
“We want everyone to get out on the streets, and say plainly to our government, that ‘enough is enough’ and we will not take any more disproportionate cuts. Everyone accepts that the deficit has to be dealt with, but when we are paying bondholders, and letting the wealthy off the hook at every turnaround, it is no wonder that we are where we are. Other ways have to be explored, the hauliers have shown this, and this protest should be one that the government will not forget in a hurry.”
You can join the group on facebook at www.facebook.com/actionagainstausterity
Pic John Boreland