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Minihan Will Not Pay Harney Fine       printable version
28 Feb 2011: posted by the editor - Ireland

Having been convicted of both assault and causing criminal damage on Friday last (February 25th) éirígí Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan has today confirmed that she has no intention of paying the €1,500 fine imposed by the court in Dublin. Louise was in court to face charges of assault and criminal damage arising from a political protest which saw the Dublin City Councillor pour diluted red paint over the clothing of Minister for Death Mary Harney on November 1st 2010.

Speaking from her Ballyfermot constituency today Louise said: ‘The pouring of diluted red paint on Mary Harney’s clothes was a legitimate form of political protest which should never have come before the courts. Given the scale of suffering and misery that Harney has been responsible for, my protest was totally justified and proportionate. I have no intention of paying the €1,500 fine that was imposed by the court.

To do so would make a hypocrite of me and the socialist republican politics I believe in. If the state chooses to jail me for non-payment of the fine so be it.’

Speaking the day before the trial Louise said: ‘My protest against Mary Harney was both legitimate and proportionate when measured against the crimes which Harney has committed against the people of Ireland. The embarrassment suffered by Harney as a result of my protest pales in comparison to the humiliation that has been suffered by the tens of thousands of patients that have been forced to wait for hours in accident and emergency departments across the state. The inconvenience my protest caused to Harney stands as nothing when compared with the unnecessary suffering and deaths that she has been responsible for during her tenure as Minister for Death.

‘In organising a photo-opportunity at Cherry Orchard Mary Harney sought to portray herself as the saviour of the hospital, whereas in fact she had been responsible for reductions in funding and the closure of wards at the same facility. This hypocrisy needed to be challenged in a manner which could not be ignored, which I believe I succeeded in doing.

‘My protest was a legitimate political protest which should never have been brought before the courts. I have no intention of pleading guilty or of apologising for my actions. To do so would undermine the legitimacy of my protest and the wider political struggle against the neo-liberal agenda that Mary Harney has so proudly championed.’ Louise concluded by calling on people to get involved in the fight back against the cutbacks to the healthcare system.

‘Fine Gael have already indicated their intention to continue with Mary Haney’s agenda of privatisation of the public healthcare system. The right to decent healthcare is a core responsibility of government which cannot be sold off to private insurance companies and private hospitals. The people of this country are entitled to a world-class universal healthcare system based on the needs and the not the wealth of the patient. We in éirígí are fully committed to fighting for such a system and we are calling on people to get join the fight back against the right wing agenda of Fine Gael, the EU and IMF.’

Explaining why she refused the option of making a donation to a charity of Mary Harney’s choice Louise said: ‘The judge asked me if I would be willing to make a donation to a charity of Mary Harney’s choice, by way of compensation. I replied that I would be willing to make a charitable donation to Cherry Orchard Hospital but not to a charity of Harney’s choosing. I did so because my protest was about Cherry Orchard Hospital and the provision of healthcare to the people of Cherry Orchard, Ballyfermot and the surrounding areas. The judge chose not accept my offer of a donation to the hospital and instead gave me the €1,500 fine.’

In conclusion Louise encouraged other people to get involved in the fight back against the cutbacks to the health system and other public services: “Unfortunately the change of government is going to make no difference to the health system. Fine Gael and Labour have already committed themselves to the EU/IMF deal which is going to see further cutbacks to all public services, including healthcare. Our community and our country are worth fighting for. We all deserve a far better system that the current one, or the one that Fine Gael are talking about. We in éirígí are fully committed to working with communities to develop a grass roots movement against the cutbacks and EU/IMF interference in Irish affairs. I would encourage people to get involved in the fight back sooner rather than later.’

* éirígí is an Ireland-wide, socialist republican political party, formed in 2006 to provide a vehicle for the national, social and economic liberation of the people of Ireland.

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