Ireland: Joe Higgins condemns latest bin tax jailing

In the Dáil (Irish parliament), on 4 November, Socialist Party TD (MP) Joe Higgins challenged the Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) on the jailing of six South Dublin anti-bin tax residents by the High Court.

Joe Higgins said: "The courts are not in a position to call alleged murderers to account but the High Court this morning could send six innocent residents from south Dublin to jail for three weeks and fine them very heavily."

"If the Taoiseach wants to retrieve even a shred of credibility for the flawed and ailing political system over which he presides, it is in his hands to take some action to defuse the current situation. Will he call off the attack on the communities of working people by instructing his Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to suspend the bin non-collection order and allow the debate on the bin tax and his local taxation policies to proceed at pace but without thousands of decent men and women being forced to use their peaceful people power in opposition to his draconian policies?"

Joe Higgins continued: "The Taoiseach’s government has turned the standards of a civilised society on its head. The innocent and compliant taxpayers, the lifelong taxpayers who are now contributory pensioners, are being hounded, harassed and jailed because the Taoiseach wants to use the courts and the paraphernalia of the State to force new taxation policies upon them but the millionaire bankers who have organised massive fraud, and now knife-wielding gangsters, are out of reach."

Joe Higgins concluded by challenging the Taoiseach to end the jailing: "Taoiseach, you can open the gates of Mountjoy [a Dublin prison] and have these decent residents let free and end the aggravation in communities if you simply tell the Minister for the Environment to bring about a suspension of the draconian bin non-collection policy by the Dublin Councils".

Full transcript of exchange

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November 2003