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5 July 2001 Edition

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New Dublin mayor roasted over bin charges

There were angry scenes outside the Mansion House in Dublin on Monday evening as scuffles broke out between the Gardaí and anti Bin Tax demonstrators during protests to mark the election of Michael Mulcahy of Fianna Fáil to the position of Lord Mayor.

Incensed by the introduction of this unfair levy on the people of Dublin, a crowd of over 300 people had assembled in a show of force to remind Mulcahy and his crew that the campaign against the Bin Tax is not over.

Earlier, Mulcahy had been elected mayor as part of a Fianna Fáil-Labour pact, which saw Labour's Eric Byrne take the post of Deputy Mayor at Dublin City Hall. Protestors from Sinn Féin and residents groups waited expectantly for Mulcahy to emerge after his election but, hopeful that the crowd outside would disperse, he remained inside.

Eventually the crowd did disperse, but not to go home as the new Mayor hoped. Instead, the protestors marched to the Mansion House, where a reception for the Mayor was to take place and linked up with an even larger body of protestors. The crowd jeered councillors who had supported the Bin Tax as they entered, many of the elected representatives looking uncomfortable at this display of anger.

But the real vehemence was reserved for the arrival of Mayor Mulcahy, who had chosen to walk from City Hall. As he approached the Mansion House, he was surrounded by protestors and Gardaí moved in to escort him through the crowd. At his first civic engagement as mayor, the Fianna Fáil man was forced to run a gauntlet of angry Dubliners outraged at his support for the double tax that is bin charges.

After the Gardaí forced their way to the entrance with Mulcahy, they turned on the crowd and there were fierce scuffles on the steps of the Mansion House with a press photographer struck by the Gardaí before protest leaders were able to restore order.

The crowd then heard a number of speeches from local activists campaigning against the Bin Tax. Sinn Féin's Daithí Doolan told the crowd: ``There is no way they can force people to pay the tax. There is no way they're going to win this. They've seen the anger on the streets of Dublin at this unfair tax and they know we're not going to go away. We're going to fight on, and we're going to win.''

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An Phoblacht
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