Pandemic and protests in Ireland

Five protests that happened in Ireland 2020

Protests and demonstrations are deeply embedded within Irish heritage, and like every other country, the root of protesting often comes down to a struggle within hierarchies. Throughout Irish history, protests have ranged from challenges posed by British rule, to anti-war protests, to internal struggles such as the anti-austerity movement. The current pandemic has posed a great threat to every country in terms of mortality, mentality, and economy, and this can be seen through the active use of protest and demonstration throughout the world. However, not all protests in Ireland throughout the year have been directly linked to the threat of Covid-19. Here are five of the protests that happened in 2020.

The Farmers Protest

The farmers of Ireland took to the streets of Dublin in January 2020 with more than 100 tractors according to RTE News, causing road closure and traffic obstructions. The root of the protest came down to the fact that Irish farmers felt the need to “highlight the urgent need to support the Irish and European beef sectors, which are in crisis” as said by the IFA (Irish Farmers’ Association). Although this protest had happened in January, this was not the first of its kind. The farmers had taken to the streets of Dublin in November and December 2019 for the same reasons, calling for an immediate ban on substandard beef imports, and for an EU campaign promoting Ireland’s environmentally sustainable EU beef production as reported by


Black Lives Matter

In the aftermath of the death of American George Floyd, protests throughout the world began to take place. In June 2020, a Black Lives Matter protest was held outside the US embassy in Ballsbridge, Dublin. According to Irish Times, hundreds of protestors gathered outside the US embassy in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, in wake of the death of Floyd. The same day, protests in Derry and Belfast were taking place in support of the movement.

Debenhams Protest

In April 2020, Debenhams Ireland announced they were temporarily closed in response to Covid-19, would be closing the stores permanently as the company had gone into administration. Following its liquidation, former Debenhams workers took to the streets as they felt abandoned by the UK owners. Ongoing protests of the former Debenham workers were originally staged in front of the stores around the country, but protests were recently held outside of the KPMG offices in Dublin, Cork and Galway as Kieran Wallace and Andrew O’Leary of KPMG were appointed as joint provisional liquidators as reported by RTE. The Former Debenhams workers protests are ongoing in efforts to secure improved redundancy packages.


Publican Protests

Following the long-term closure of pubs around the country, Irish Publicans gathered in Dublin to protest to open their businesses. The protests saw the emotions of publicans from the likes of TJ McInerney discussing the impact of the closure. Pubs around the country have since opened with indoor dining allowed in counties of level one and two, under the government’s level plan for living with Covid-19. According to Failte Ireland guidelines, areas of level three, outdoor dining for pubs is permissible but not indoor, for level four and five, all pubs will be closed.

Anti-Lockdown Protests

Hundreds of protestors took to the streets in August 2020, to protest government restrictions, end lockdown and the use of facemasks in Ireland. According to the Irish post, the event was organised by Health Freedom Ireland, a group who started a petition to end all restrictions, with support of Yellow Vest Ireland. The protest took place outside Custom House in Dublin and was held alongside a large gardai presence.


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Dara Thornton
Dara Thornton

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