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Wednesday 23 August 2017

'We refuse to pay' - Volunteers fined €40 for parking outside GPO while feeding the homeless

Liz Webster, Ciara Micklethwaite and Sinead Kane outside the Criminal Courts of Justice on Wednesday
Liz Webster, Ciara Micklethwaite and Sinead Kane outside the Criminal Courts of Justice on Wednesday
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

Three volunteers who were each fined €40 for parking their cars outside the GPO while feeding the homeless have been summoned to court for non-payment of fines.

Sinead Kane, Liz Webster and Ciara Micklethwaite are refusing to pay the fines as they feel it was "extremely unfair" they were issued in the first place.

They appeared in Dublin District Court on Wednesday and their case has now been put forward for hearing on May 31.

The three volunteers work with Hope in the Darkness, a charity which provides food to homeless people on the streets of Dublin four nights-a-week.

Speaking to Independent.ie, founder of the charity, Sinead Kane said they are "standing their ground".

"It's not about the money, it's about the principle," she said.

"We are being punished for going out and feeding the homeless. We've been doing this since November 2015 and we've built up a relationship with the guards. Normally they would come up and ask us to move along, it would only happen the odd time, maybe three times a month.

"On the night we were fined, nobody came up to us at all."

The fines were issued to the three women at 9.50pm on November 19, 2016.

Ms Kane said they would have been finishing up serving food at this time.

"We put so many hours into this, we can't afford to be paying €40 in fines too," she said.

"We would have chats with the guards and offer them a cup of tea or a doughnut. I have no problem moving the cars when we're asked but I feel this fine is very unfair.

"We won't be paying, we are going to stand our ground on this."

Gardaí confirmed the fines were issued for illegal parking but could not comment any further on the case.

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