Thousands of people have protested in Dublin against cuts proposed in the McCarthy report.

Community activists, workers and employers from the community sector set off from Parnell Square at 1pm.

An estimated 12,000 people gathered outside the Dáil this afternoon to voice their concerns.

The new campaign, Communities Against Cuts, claims the 'An Bord Snip Nua' proposals could result in the loss of 6,500 jobs if implemented.

David Connolly of CAC urged backbench TDs and local councillors to resist current and planned spending reductions in the Budget.

Community groups provide childcare, drug rehabilitation, education & training, youth support, community development and a range of other services and would struggle to function without State support.

Cutbacks have already seen the closure of some projects and those in the sector say, if implemented, the McCarthy report proposals will devastate the sector.

The groups say the cuts could result in a huge social fall-out as people relying on the services provided have nowhere else to turn.

Terry Fagan, who works on the Dublin North Inner City Folklore Project, has been on a 24-hour fast outside the GPO to highlight the potential damage to the sector along with other colleagues.

He says the sector is seen as a soft target.