A few hundred people turned out to “welcome” the Irish Government Ministers and supporting TDs (elected members) back to the Dáil after the summer recess of the Irish parliament. The protesters were not allowed within fifty yards of the main gates, with lines of Gardaí, the Irish national police force, standing behind the special new double barriers which they now employ here. Kildare Street, the address of the Dáil, was closed by Gardaí to pedestrian and motor traffic and public transport buses using that street as part of their regular routes had to be re-routed.
There was a special focus among many of the protesters on the housing crisis in Dublin with a number of organisations working with or campaigning for the homeless present and a number of placards drawing attention to the issue.
Some protesters had met at 4pm at the GPO in Dublin’s O’Connell Street and had marched to the Dáil from there, while others had arrived at the Dáil itself from 5pm onwards. There were others demonstrating too in Merrion Street, on the other side of the Dáil complex.
Around the other side, in Merrion Street, I met some protesters coming away from the protest there and stopped to talk to them. They informed me that it was ending there and I returned along Nasseau Street to Molesworth Street.
When I started up Dawson Street I saw a small march coming down towards me. These were clearly the remainder of those who had been in Merrion Street earlier. Among this section were young mothers and some of their children had notes attached to their chests, for example “I am five and I am homeless”. I joined this group for the short walk remaining in Dawson Street and into Molesworth Street.
Speeches were still going on there and it seemed a musician or singer would have made a nice change – or even a comedian, or a juggler. After a short while the speeches ended and the crowd began to disperse, at which point I approached the women I had been told were homeless and spoke to one. Shortly after, I left to buy a cup of coffee and start an article about that homeless woman and her children.