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Anti-bin tax campaigner Clare Daly jailed for a month

In what might prove to be the catalyst to further,more widespread protests in the anti-bin tax campaign, Socialist councillor Clare Daly has been committed to Mountjoy jail for a month, along with TD Joe Higgins, for their part in the anti-bin tax campaign, widely reported in newmediacuts.

RTE News reports --

Mr Justice Iarlfhlaith O'Neill said he appreciated that Joe Higgins and Clare Daly breached court orders as part of a political campaign and their motivation was sincere.

But he said they had been engaged in a deliberate and calculated contempt of the law and the authority of the court. He said this was regrettable and reprehensible in Mr Higgins' case as he was a member of the Dáil.

He sentenced them both to a month in Mountjoy Prison, beginning today. Mr Higgins and Ms Daly were led away from the courts by gardaí and are now being held in the Bridewell Garda Station.

As he was taken away, Mr Higgins said his committal to prison was an outrage.

Mr Higgins and Ms Daly have been leading a campaign against Fingal Co Council's decision not to collect rubbish from householders who have not paid their waste charges.

Speaking at a meeting yesterday, Clare said -- “While we were in the High Court on Wednesday the people of Cabra and Rivervalley blocked three more bin trucks. That’s the real story here, ordinary people protesting against the non-collection of rubbish by unelected and undemocratic County Council bureaucrats. I have a mandate from the thousands of non-payers and from the voters who elected me to campaign to get the bin tax scrapped. Threatening people with jail won’t stop the protests. We will stand by the thousands in the communities”.

It is ironic that this occurs on the 200th anniversary of the sentencing of a great Irish patriot - Robert Emmet. In his final speech before sentencing, he noted that history would be the judge of his actions, and that he was motivated from social, moral and political conviction. It is a terrible judgement on this country that politicians that act from the same motivations are treated severely compared to those politicians who have acted selfishly and corruptly - as we have seen from the host of tribunals that this country has spawned, and the lenient sentences for contempt of court and judgements [if any] that have been handed to the guilty. More news as it breaks.

September 19, 2003 in Civil Liberties | Permalink

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