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Ireland’s First Anti-Austerity Prisoner Remains Defiant


Louise MinihanAs Louise Minihan ends her fifth day in Mountjoy Prison, Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson has condemned the corrupt nature of the Twenty-Six County justice system and confirmed that Minihan remains committed to the fight against the austerity programme. Leeson, who visited the Dublin City Councillor in Mountjoy on Saturday (July 21), said,

“It has been éirígí’s position since day one that Louise Minihan should never have been brought before the courts as a result of her protest against Mary Harney. Her actions were clearly a non-violent, political act designed to disrupt a cynical publicity stunt by Harney in the grounds of Cherry Orchard Hospital. It should be remembered that Harney, as Minister for Health, had directed a series of savage attacks against public health services in not only Cherry Orchard but across the entire state. Louise’s actions were politically and morally proportionate and appropriate.

“When Louise was brought before the courts on a number of spurious charges, including one of assault, it was clear that the state intended to make an example out of Louise. Unsurprisingly the courts were only too happy to facilitate the Gardaí and their political masters and duly convicted Louise on all charges.”

Highlighting the relative length of Louise’s detention Leeson said, “And now the Prison Service has played its part in the charade. How is it that an overcrowded prison, which routinely releases first time fine-defaulters within hours, has found the space to hold Louise for five days? It seems the so-called revolving justice system doesn’t revolve so quickly for political prisoners.

“Where is the justice in a system that treats prisoners who have been give the same sentence so differently? The question that now needs to be asked is who made the decision to single out Louise for such a relatively long detention? At what level was the Prison Service instructed to detain political prisoners for longer periods than non-political prisoners?

“For political activists, the corruption of the Gardaí, the courts and the Prison Service comes as no surprise, but that does not make it right. Those who have not previously been exposed to the true nature of the Twenty-Six County justice system would do well to look closely at how Louise Minihan has been treated, not least because a corrupt justice system can only exist within the framework of a wider corrupt political system and state.”

Confirming Louise’s commitment to the ongoing fight against austerity Leeson said, “Louise Minihan is the first person to serve time in jail as a result of the current Irish anti-austerity struggle. It is very unlikely that she will be the last. The state hoped that Louise’s prosecution and sentencing would cause her, and others, to be cowed into passive acceptance of the austerity programme. In this they were sadly mistaken. From speaking with Louise yesterday it is clear that she is more determined than ever to fight the austerity programme of the Fine Gael / Labour coalition. We look forward to her release and rejoining of the struggle in the next couple of days.”


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