Irish Republican News · September 21, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
TD jailed after bin charge protest

An Irish parliamentarian has been jailed for a month over the escalating protests against the bin tax in Dublin.

Joe Higgins TD and a colleague have both been sent to Mountjoy Jail for defying a High Court injunction prohibiting them from obstructing refuse collections in Dublin.

There have been angrt comparisons between the treatment of Mr Higgins, a prominent anti-establishment figure, and the wealthy Liam Lawlor, a former Fianna Fail TD who continues to defy a public inquiry into planning corruption in Dublin.

Mr Higgins has been leading protests against bin charges in the Fingal County Council area since the local authority decided last week to stop collecting bins from residents who have not paid the charge. Protests have spread since to other council areas in Dublin.

The decision to jail the two sparked an angry response from campaigners against the refuse charges, who are planning a significant stepping up of protest actions in Dublin.

There is also a prospect of the campaign spreading to other parts of the 26 Counties, where refuse collection charges are generally higher.

The Dublin city anti-bin-charge campaign staged a protest outside Mountjoy Prison at the weekend, and further demonstrations are planned for today and over the next week.

On Monday a mass rally is planned for the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square, to be followed later by a further protest outside Mountjoy.

Mr Higgins and Ms Daly appeared shocked as Mr Justice O'Neill imposed the sentences in the High Court in Dublin.

The judge said he accepted they had acted as part of a political campaign and were sincere in their motivation.

However, they had breached the court order prohibiting their involvement in obstructing the refuse collections of Fingal County Council, and it was clear they intended to continue to engage in such activity.

Speaking as he was led away by gardaí, Mr Higgins said: "It's an outrage that we're being sent to Mountjoy for standing up for the community when gangsters in the pockets of speculators will never come before the courts."

Protesters who continue blockading refuse lorries also face arrest and possible imprisonment.

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© 2003 Irish Republican News