Thousands of anti-austerity campaigners are expected to gather outside the headquarters of RTE, Ireland’s national broadcaster, on Saturday to protest against what they say is biased reporting that represents the interests of a marginal elite.
Protesters will assemble at 1pm at the Sacred Heart Church in Donnybrook, south Dublin, before making their way to the broadcaster’s studios nearby.
The demonstration has been organized by a diverse group of anti-austerity and political campaign groups from far-flung regions across Ireland.
Among these, are anti-water charges campaign groups that have protested regularly in recent months against the Irish government’s water taxation policy shift.
The water tax forms part of the government’s long-term plan to repay billions of socialized bank debt, stemming from a banking crisis that brought Ireland’s economy to its knees. Following an IMF/EU bailout in 2010 that resulted in years of harsh austerity measures, Ireland’s economy is yet to fully recover.
‘Failing to act in public interest’
Campaigners say RTE’s representation is failing the wider Irish populace, and has concealed some of the darkest manifestations of austerity to have befallen the Irish state since 2008.
They accuse the station of portraying Ireland as a nation in recovery when in reality unemployment remains stubbornly high, suicide rates are soaring, and families who have bailed out corrupt bankers are being evicted from their homes and forced onto the street.
They also warn of political policing in Ireland, whereby anti-austerity activists are being arrested for exercising their democratic right to protest.