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25 September 2003 Edition

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Fair City? - Two jailed as Dublin bin tax war escalates

BY JOANNE CORCORAN

Dublin lost its mantle of 'fair city' this week when 13 of its residents were arrested for peacefully protesting against bin charges.

In a direct attack on the right of the public to protest against an unjust double tax, householders and activists were hauled before the courts by Fingal and Dublin City councils in an attempt to break the back of the campaign.

  • There was nothing fair about the month-long sentence handed down to Joe Higgins TD and Councillor Clare Daly last Friday.
  • There was nothing fair about 11 ordinary people having to appear before the High Court this week on charges of obstruction.
  • And there is nothing fair about threatening with jail eight more people who blocked a bin truck in Harold's Cross on Wednesday morning.

In a week when former Fianna Fáil TD Liam Lawlor once again fell foul of the Planning Tribunal, justice in the capital has entered the twilight zone. While eleven of the protesters were spared a visit to Mountjoy - two apologised to the court on Tuesday, the other nine were released on a technicality on Wednesday evening - two still languish in Mountjoy Jail.

This is a disgrace.

Lawlor, who could face criminal charges for perjury, is to have his evidence reviewed by the DPP. Meanwhile, people involved in a legitimate protest against an unjust tax are threatened with immediate imprisonment.

The row is now set to spread across the county, as Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council is also due to stop collecting bins from householders who have not paid waste charges.

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