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Jailing of bin charge protestors scandalous - Morgan

19 September, 2003

Speaking following the High Court judgement sentencing Socialist Party T.D. Joe Higgins and his party colleague Claire Daly to a month in prison, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment and Local Government Arthur Morgan T.D. has deemed the judgement scandalous.

Deputy Morgan said

"It is scandalous that Deputy Higgins and Councillor Daly have each been sentenced to a month in prison for engaging in legitimate political protest and acts of civil disobedience in opposition to unjust double taxation which the bin charges represent.

"Minister Cullen has been itching to take on the anti-bin charge protestors since he became Minister for the Environment and Local Government last year. This situation is a direct consequence of his actions in presiding over the government's shambolic waste management policy which is centred on penalising householders when the real producers of waste - industry - are being let off the hook.

"The crack down on legitimate political protest has followed an assault on local democracy which saw the powers in relation to the making of waste management plans and the setting of waste charges being taken away from democratically elected local representatives. The government knowingly brought about this democratic deficit in local government which people simply will not accept. The government has created a situation where people are driven to protest and civil disobedience.

"Waste collection is an essential service which must be provided by the state. We need to see initiatives on recycling and separated waste collection and NOT unjust double taxation, uncollected rubbish and confrontational attitudes from government to the protests of citizens.

"In conclusion it is interesting to contrast the treatment of these two activists by a court with the treatment of those who have in recent years obstructed the work of the Flood and other Tribunals." ENDS

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