Journalist John Waters arrested over non-payment of parking fine
COLUMNIST John Waters has been arrested over a €40 parking fine that he refused to pay "on a point of principle".
The journalist and commentator was taken into custody after he handed himself in at Dun Laoghaire Garda Station earlier today.
He was whisked away minutes later in a patrol car, flanked by two gardai.
He was arrested on foot of a warrant that was issued over his repeated refusal to pay a parking fine he got on a street in the town more than two years ago.
The initial penalty was €40 but Mr Waters refused to pay it when summoned to appear before Dun Laoghaire District Court at the time.
Warrants were subsequently issued and he surrendered himself by arrangement today.
Mr Waters has been outspoken on the parking regime introduced by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, which critics say is hitting the town's retail sector.
He maintains that he was one minute outside the 15-minutes' "grace" allowed after a ticket runs out.
He arrived outside the garda station just after 12pm today in a black suit and carrying a white and red holdall bag. He was accompanied by two friends, Derek and Jamie Dean.
He walked in the front door of the garda station and emerged minutes later in the back of a patrol car, bound for Wheatfield prison in west Dublin, where he was briefly jailed. He was processed and released a short time later.
Speaking before his 2011 court appearance, he said: "How can you do business in Dun Laoghaire? You cannot decide how long a meeting will last. It is destroying social life. If I meet someone I can't start a conversation for fear of being fined. It is destroying social interaction.
"The town is reaching the point of critical mass where the time is coming where people will stop coming in. There are far too many shops closing.
“I paid my €2 and when I came back there was this ticket with the time 16 minutes over the hour.
“A man who I spoke to said the warden walked past the car and checked the time on the ticket, then came back when it was a minute over. That's three cents over."
By Andrew Phelan