By Stephen Rigney
Around 50 people attended a lively protest against the International Development Agency (IDA), the financial arm of the World Bank at the Grand Hotel in Malahide on 12 October.
The protest was organised to oppose the brutal methods and demands that the World Bank places on developing countries, as pre-conditions for them receiving development aid and loans. Using “Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs)”, the World Bank forces poor countries to open up their economies by privatising important services, cutting government spending and eliminating protection rights for workers, before they are eligible for loans. The effect of these SAPs has been to drive the people of Africa and Latin America deeper into poverty as healthcare, food and fuel prices continuously rise as multinational companies seek to maximise their profits.
The relatively large Garda presence, including the Public Order Unit, were left looking over-prepared and over-dressed for the good weather, as protesters painted banners, held a picnic and listened to music provided by Electronic Resistance. Speeches were made by members of some NGOs, highlighting the role of the World Bank in attacking the rights and conditions of the poor across the world, while some locals dropped by to ask what the protest was about and grab a slice of cake from the picnic.
While the protest was small, it was an important event to show that wherever the representatives of neo-liberal capitalism meet, young people and workers will be there to oppose their brutal policies.