Tuesday 20 November 2018

Jail will not break mass opposition, vow campaigners

Grainne Cunningham

ANTI-BIN tax campaigners yesterday vowed that the jailing of TD Joe Higgins and councillor Clare Daly would not break the "massive opposition" to the charge.

Standing on the steps of the Four Courts just minutes after her colleagues were led away, Cllr Ruth Coppinger called on the people of Dublin to join in a series of protests being held across the city today.

She warned that the prison sentences could create a "major scenario" and would act as a "lightning rod for the anger that is out there in working communities".

She appealed to those opposed to the bin tax to demonstrate outside council offices at Blanchardstown and Swords at 2pm today.

Ms Coppinger condemned the month-long sentences imposed on Mr Higgins and Ms Daly as "absolutely disgraceful" and pointed out that Liam Lawlor had been sentenced to only one week in jail.

Ms Coppinger also called on all anti-bin tax campaigners in the Dublin City Council area and elsewhere to intensify their struggle.

With the jailing of her comrades yesterday, Ms Coppinger became effective head of the anti-bin tax campaign.

After the hearing, Independent Deputy Tony Gregory condemned the length of the sentence imposed as "exceptionally harsh and almost an abuse of the laws of the State".

The sentence was "in sharp contrast to the way corrupt individuals, politicians and people I would regard as gangsters can flout the laws of this country, the laws of the tribunals and get away with virtually anything, year in, year out," he said.

Mr Gregory said he had expected a non-custodial sentence and accused the judge of having put the defendants in an impossible position by asking them to abandon their communities in order to comply with the law.

Des Bonasse of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions said it was time for Siptu to become involved on behalf of their member, Clare Daly.

Mr Bonasse said that most of the people affected by the tax were union members.

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