People power - often derided and dismissed - can actually be a real and potent catalyst for change as Galway politicians witnessed this weekend.
In Galway as the offices of the county’s four TDs - Éamon Ó Cuív, Frank Fahey, Micháel Kitt, and Noel Tracey - were inundated with phone calls from constituents asking/complaining about the decision to abolish medical cards for the over 70s.
On the streets, FF councillors in Galway were feeling the heat. “You’re embarrassed meeting people,” one councillor told the Galway Advertiser. “You know when you go Mass or to the supermarket they’re all looking at you and saying ‘He’s one of that shower!’”
It was a phenomenon witnessed throughout the State and it was a protest led by pensioners and the elderly - the last people you would expect. Such was their outrage that on Tuesday, the Government was forced to do a U-turn and reverse the medical card decision and tone down on the tax levy so that it does not affect the lowest paid.
The medical card controversy has overshadowed the increase in class sizes, however now that the cards issue has been ‘dealt’ with, this issue will come to prominence and be the next battleground between the Government and the public.
Could Galway see a rise in protests with increased numbers taking to the streets?