Saturday 21 September 2019

Pensioner fined €750 for census form refusal

Stock image
Stock image

Gordon Deegan

A pensioner in Ennis, Co Clare, refused to fill out his 2016 Census form because of his 'strong feelings' over the Central Statistics Office (CSO) using a firm which has links to prisoner interrogations at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq for the census.

At Ennis District Court, John Higgins (70), of Clancy Park, Ennis, explained that he didn't fill out his form over the CSO contracting CACI UK to help with the census.

The UK company's parent company in the US had staff employed as interrogators in the notorious Iraq prison between August 2003 and 2005.

In his letter to the census read out in court, Mr Higgins said he chose not to supply any household details based on the fact that such information when processed will ensure that CACI would profit from it.

In his letter, Mr Higgins said that he didn't fill out the census as he was "a conscientious objector to war, warmongering and any mercenary actions involved in war".

Mr Higgins said that CACI "is the subject of  violation of human rights abuse charges in relation to actions at Abu Ghraib to prisoners in Iraq".

However, Judge Patrick Durcan convicted Mr Higgins of not filling out his census form under the Statistics Acts and fined him €750.

Judge Durcan told Mr Higgins's solicitor Tara Godfrey: "This court is being used as a political forum and I will not allow that.

"Your client is now engaged in using and abusing this court in terms of spelling out the political position he has - and I won't have it.

"I want no more about Iraq and what is happening out there."

Irish Independent

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