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TDs demand release of anti-bin charge protesters following visit to Mountjoy

26 September, 2003

Following a visit to Mountjoy Prison today by a number of TDs to see bin charge protesters Joe Higgins TD and Clare Daly, Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe said that both were "in very good spirits despite the difficult circumstances they find themselves in". He said this was obviously a very difficult time for Clare Daly who has been separated from her young child. The Dublin South West TD went on to call for the release of the two protesters and demanded that all Dublin's local authorities lessen the tension around the whole issue of bin collections by pulling back from the confrontational approach they have adopted so far.

Deputy Crowe said: "Today's visit to Mountjoy by five TDs from a cross section of political opinion in Leinster House is a clear indicator of the depth of concern that exists around the whole issue of bin-charges and in particular the jailing of protesters. The reality of the situation is that neither Joe or Clare would be in jail now if it were not for the cynical manipulation of the laws of this State and the obvious waste problems that exist by both the Minister for the Environment Martin Cullen and the County Managers of each local authority. The Minister changed the law, with minimal debate in Leinster House, to bring about the conditions that led to the jailing of anti-charge protesters. This was done because he knew the depth of opposition that existed to his plans and he knew he could never secure popular support for them.

"I am calling the county managers to put an end to their gung-ho attitude to anti-bin charge protesters. They need to pull back from the brink and lessen the tensions around the whole issue by adopting less confrontational approaches. There is no justification for the continued detention of Joe Higgins and Clare Daly and they should be immediately released. Civil disobedience is a legitimate form of non-violent protest. It is especially so in cases where laws have been cynically changed to get past the democratic wishes of the people.

"Just as the water rates of the 80s and 90s were an unjust form of double taxation that were defeated by popular resistance so too are the bin charges. People have a legitimate right to protest against them and Sinn Féin will continue to support people in that opposition." ENDS

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