By Associated Press - Saturday, February 9, 2013

DUBLIN — Trade unionists are marching in Ireland’s capital to protest the continuing high cost of the country’s crippling bank bailout program.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions, representing a third of Ireland’s 2 million-strong workforce, called for “Lift the Burden” protests Saturday in Dublin and other cities, hoping to draw tens of thousands of people on to the streets.

Marches organized by the Congress were also happening in Cork, Galway, Limerick, Sligo and Waterford.

The marches went ahead despite Thursday’s agreement with the European Central Bank to restructure the loans used to bail out Ireland’s failing banks, a deal expected to reduce the national debt by $27 billion in the coming decade and help the country’s expected exit from its own international bailout.

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