A well-known trade union activist has commended attendees of a recent mass rally for “making history”.

Hundreds turned out in support of striking workers on Thursday of last week, marching from the ‘Round O’ to the Townhall in freezing conditions.

Taking to the platform, Donal O’Cofaigh (pictured), captured the palpable sense of unity among workers, exclaiming: “You are making history. This is what it feels like.”

“This is how you change society for the better. We stand together in our unity and strength.”

Waves of applause and cheers resonated through the crowds as O’Cofaigh spoke.

Shaping the future

A high-profile trade unionist and a fervent advocate of workers, Mr. O’Cofaigh said that recent strike action transcended the tangible aims of defending public services. The strikes had a bigger aim, he claimed - shaping future society.

“It may seem difficult to imagine, but this strike is about more than defending public services,” he said. “It’s about the society we want to live in. What sort of services do we want for our children in the future?

“Do we want a society where everything is taken away? Where we have to pay for everything? Of course not.

“We have to transform society. It might look difficult, but remember, we wouldn’t have the NHS; our education system; we wouldn’t have holidays if it wasn’t for working-class people, standing together striking fighting back.”

“Nothing in this society works, unless workers do,” Mr. O’Cofaigh added, amid cheers and chants of “here, here”.

“We have the power, you have the power.”

Emphasizing the urgency of strike action, O’Cofaigh described the state of most public services as “shocking”.

“Look at our hospital services, look at our GP services. Look at the fact there wasn’t a driver on an education bus to bring school children to school because they couldn’t recruit someone.”

This, he said, is a direct result of a squeeze on wages.

“The pay crisis has been ongoing for years and has caused a staffing crisis.

“We are witnessing unprecedented pressure on workers in virtually every single public sector workplace. The result is we have lost services, and our community is denied basic access.”

He continued: “This is a ridiculous situation, and amid the worst cost of living crisis in generations, the Secretary of State wants to weaponise the issue of public sector pay.

“You have shown that workers can stand together, this society has been brought to a standstill.”

However, while Mr. O’Cofaigh commended the solidarity on display, he warned against complacency when strike actions end.


“This is a historic day but it cannot be another occasion where we march to the top of the hill and we forget about it,” he said.

“This strike needs to be a milestone, not an endpoint.

“You see the power you have today. Be under no illusions, what you’re doing is echoing and reverberating around these islands, around the corridors of Westminster. And in Stormont, when they’re there. But it is also seen by employers, they are seeing the power of working-class people.

“This power is at its best of workers when workers stand together. You can win what you are entitled to, cost of living pay increases, funded public services. You can transform society. That is the power of working-class people,” concluded Mr. O’Cofaigh.