Populism came to town on wheels Monday with the commencement and subsequent cessation of what was supposed to be an indefinite blockade by truckers against rising fuel prices.
Loosely organised around the haulier group ‘The People Of Ireland Against Fuel Prices’ , the protest saw dozens of trucks arrive into Dublin and a halfhearted attempt to block key chokepoints around the city.
Originally intending to take out key aspects of the city’s transport lines by midday it was clear that the hauliers only had the capability to incapacitate the East Link bridge near Dublin port. As with anti-lockdown protestors last year this elicited a proactive response from Gardaí with about a dozen trucks in place temporarily halting traffic flow from the port.
The blockade fizzled out around 6pm with fines subsequently being issued to those in attendance. While those in attendance likely had Canada on the brain in order to bring the government to the bargaining table by yesterday’s standards the haulier groups needed a lot more coordination to land blows on the Martin government.
Seeking a mixture of price caps and the resignation of increasingly loathed Green Minister Eamon Ryan, the flock of journalists reporting from the event found it difficult to discern the actual leadership or even demands of the group.
While it is easy to be a hurler on the ditch with regards these things similar to the anti-lockdown movement the two years prior this lack of organisation will be the death of any populist movement.
To the hauliers’ credit, their actions elicited a negative response not just from the pro-government regime press at Newstalk and RTÉ but with the political left who at once labelled the truckers as harbouring extremist elements.
As prices tick up it is becoming a matter of do or die for the industry with a targeted campaign at the country’s jugular liable to force concessions.
It was a poor showing Monday but from the current climate I dare say truckers will have plenty of room for practice as conditions worsen.