Tuesday 20 February 2018

Defiant Mick Wallace 'on the train' back to Dublin and vows never to pay €2k fine

TD Mick Wallace arriving at Limerick Prison this afternoon.
Photo: Brian Gavin Press 22
TD Mick Wallace arriving at Limerick Prison this afternoon. Photo: Brian Gavin Press 22

Kevin Doyle and David Kearns

DEFIANT INDEPENDENT TD Mick Wallace will get the train back to Dublin this evening after he was granted temporary release from Limerick Prison following his arrest for refusing to pay a €2,000 fine.

Speaking from the steps of the prison Deputy Wallace was adamant that he would never pay the fine, saying that he “rejected the court’s decision” to fine him and Dáil colleague Clare Daly for breaching security at Shannon Airport.

The Wexford TD was freed just two hours after arriving at the prison shortly after 4pm.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Drivetime, he said it had been made clear to him that he “would not be spending Christmas in Limerick jail.”

“Someone told me I can be rearrested in the next 30 days but that it would be unusual.

“Nobody wants to spend Christmas in prison but if I had to I would have.”

Wexford TD Mick Wallace
Wexford TD Mick Wallace

Adding: “They told me that about 20 people turned up today for fines and were turned away as well.

“Whether there’s no room or what I don’t know.”

He was arrested this morning at Clontarf garda station at 11:30 am but says he did not know he was going to be arrested this morning but was aware there was a bench warrant out for his arrest.

He was allowed go home to collect some clothes and books before he was driven by two Gardaí to Limerick.

"Maybe it was my problem not realising what was going to happen," he said, adding that “no one today” had asked him to pay the €2,000 fine.

At the prison, the Independent TD went through the normal committal process and had his photograph and fingerprints taken.

Asked by host Mary Wilson if it was “appropriate for a legislator” to waste Gardaí and prison officials time with non-payment of fines, Mr Wallace said "it was not my decision to put me in prison or to take me to Limerick."

On his release this evening Mr Wallace said he has not spoken to his Dáil colleague Clare Daly who is also facing arrested for the non-payment of a €2,000 linked to a protest they staged at Shannon Airport over its use by US military planes.

“I am absolutely not going to pay it. I completely disagree with the judgement of the judge.

"We went over that fence to keep the peace and not break it.

"I can assure you, we will continue to highlight that it’s absolutely outrage that Shannon is still being used as a US military airbase,” Mr Wallace added.

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