The European financial crisis has inspired a wave of social activism, challenging established party politics. In Ireland, a large social protest movement produced a Right2Change political campaign in 2015 that confronted the right-wing consensus in Irish politics. Some activists sought to emulate and learn from the example of new parties like Spain’s Podemos. Yet, to date, the traditional party structure remains intact, and hopes of emulating the success of activists elsewhere remain muted. At the same time, anti-austerity activism in Ireland has seen a conscious attempt to engage in intense dialogue with the pan-European experience. Irish activists have looked to Europe before for inspiration and a sharing of experiences; but the most recent attempt to create a Europeanised public space in response to the perceived ‘blockage’ in the Irish party system is something fairly innovative. This article, based in part on ten semi-structured interviews with politicians and social movement activists, considers the achievements and failings of the Irish anti-austerity movement to date.
- anti-austerity protests