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Defiant Louise Minihan Released from Mountjoy Prison

24/07/12

Banner at Sunday's Dublin-Meath gameéirígí Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan was today released from Mountjoy Prison after serving six nights in custody. Minihan was imprisoned last Wednesday [July 18] for failing to pay a €1,500 court fine which had been imposed as a result of her ‘red paint protest’ against the then Minister for Health, Mary Harney.

Speaking from outside Mountjoy Prison, Minihan said, “From the day I was charged it was clear that the state hoped to make an example out of me, to deter others from taking a stand against the government’s savage austerity measures. With their courts, their fines and their jail they hope to intimidate the people into accepting every anti-social measure of the government and their Troika masters.

“I have no doubt that my jailing was meant to send a message to the hundreds of thousands of people who have refused to pay Hogan’s Home Tax in particular, to convince them the state was willing to come down hard on those who take a stand against austerity. I would encourage people not to be intimidated by the government’s hollow threats; they can’t fine and jail us all. The campaign against the unjust home and water taxes can and will be won, if we stand together and don’t allow ourselves to be intimidated.”

Speaking in relation to the length of her imprisonment Minihan said, “Everyone is aware of the chronic overcrowding that exists in Mountjoy and the so-called revolving door justice system. As a result of this overcrowding the vast majority of first-time fine defaulters serve very short sentences before being released. But in my case I was held for the full length of my sentence, something which is virtually unheard of. Even the prison staff expressed surprise at how long I was held for.

“On my first day in Mountjoy it was confirmed to me by the governor of the Dóchas Centre that I was to treated differently because I was a political prisoner and that I would be held for the full length of my sentence. While not surprising, it is still an absolute disgrace that political prisoners should be singled out in this way, to serve longer periods in jail than comparable non-political prisoners. The notion that the justice and penal system in this state are independent and impartial has been further eroded by my case.

“When similar political interference in the justice system occurs in countries on the other side of the world the Labour Party are quick to cry their crocodile tears, but when it happens here their silence is deafening.”

In conclusion Minihan restated her commitment to the fight back against austerity, “My commitment to the fight against injustice in Ireland is stronger now than it was before I went into Mountjoy. Over the coming months and years I intend to work with the people of Ballyfermot and beyond in building a mass anti-austerity movement to reverse the damage that has been done by the Troika, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party.”

 

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