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One of the largest strikes in many years shut down public transport, closed the majority of schools, forced the cancellation of thousands of procedures in health facilities and brought much of the sector's administration work to a halt.

Belfast protest

Many thousands marched to City Hall to attend a rally addressed by senior union officials.

Peter Bunting from the ICTU addressing the crowd said, "The real extremists in our society are those who evade and avoid tax, those who have gambled billions with other peoples' money to sate their greed, and those politicians who have decreed that ordinary people, private sector workers, public sector workers and the most vulnerable of all - the unemployed, the sick, women and children, and senior citizens - will pay for the criminal conduct of the pampered elite."

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