Ireland fears civil unrest as bank crisis deepens
Trade union leader warns of riots if government imposes further ‘draconian’ cuts to public sector
Henry McDonald in Dublin and Andrew Clark
Saturday 20 November 2010
One of Ireland’s biggest trade unions warned today that the nation was on the brink of civil unrest as government officials negotiated a multibillion euro bailout for the country’s ailing banks.
The Technical Engineering and Electrical Union said further “draconian” public sector cuts of €15bn (£13bn) over four years could lead to street disorder. It urged a campaign of civil disobedience unless the taoiseach, Brian Cowen, calls an immediate election. An emergency cabinet tomorrow will discuss the new round of cuts.
“When the measures being proposed are heaped on top of the €14.5bn cuts already implemented in the last three brutal budgets, life in Ireland will be unbearable,” said the TEEU leader, Eamon Devoy. A group of 16 officials from the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank are staying in Dublin’s luxury Merrion hotel, holding talks throughout the weekend with the Irish government and Ireland’s central bank. Financial sources told the Observer that a strategy could be announced as soon as Monday to stabilise Ireland’s banks.