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Report of Socialist Party rally on release of Joe and Clare

category national | bin tax / household tax / water tax | news report author Monday October 20, 2003 21:57author by Great meeting Report this post to the editors

Joe Higgins and Clare Daly spoke at a huge public meeting on Saturday, following their release from prison. The two gave a barnstorming performance, lambasting the government, the courts and the Councils.

The meeting hall in the Gresham Hotel was crammed full of people and large numbers of latecomers were turned away at the door.

The atmosphere inside was fantastic, with the speakers regularly interrupted by cheers and the defiant shouting of anti-bin tax slogans.

Both Joe and Clare placed a heavy emphasis on the fact that many more brave protesters are still in prison.

An entertaining sideshow was provided by Fine Gael. The blueshirts organised a counter-protest outside the hotel, demanding an end to the bin protests. The right wingers claimed to have the support of the majority of the Dublin population against an unrepresentative minority of bin tax protesters. However, they could only muster eight people for their rather forlorn counter-protest. This compares poorly with the thousands who have taken part in anti-bin tax actions.

Below is the report of the meeting from the Irish Times. Apart from slightly understating the numbers present, it falsely claims that the local elections are the real target of the protest.

Anti-bin tax campaign is just the opening shot for Higgins

Despite a month in Mountjoy Prison, Socialist Party TD, Mr Joe Higgins, is ready to do it again, writes Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent

Even after a month in Mountjoy Prison, Socialist Party TD Mr Joe Higgins could not escape the long arm of the Minister for Justice, Mr McDowell.

Nearly 400 relatives, friends and supporters gathered in the Gresham Hotel on Saturday evening to welcome Mr Higgins and colleague Cllr Clare Daly.

However, the little matter of the Intoxicating Liquor Act had to be dealt with first. "We have a little problem with the management and the law," said Ms Fiona O'Loughlin.

"There are under-18s who want to attend the meeting. So the bar has to close. Otherwise they can't attend. And that wouldn't be fair," she said.

The bar shutters came down. The pints were supped. None complained. No greater sacrifice can a man make on a Saturday night than to lay down his pint for the cause.

It was that sort of evening, as chants of "Bin Tax: We won't pay" mixed with talk of prison bars and walls, sacrifice and "the struggle of the working class".

However, the bin campaign, reviled in many areas though with strong pockets of support, is but the opening shots in the Socialist Party's latest assault on capitalism's citadel.

The real target is next year's local elections. Following acres of newsprint, Ms Daly and Fingal County Council colleague Ms Ruth Coppinger have already done much to secure their re-election.

However, the Socialist Party is now confident it can win elsewhere, particularly in the Finglas and Santry wards in the Dublin North West Dáil constituency.

Indeed, the ambitions do not stop there. In the 2002 general election, Ms Daly won more than 5,000 first preferences and could lay claim to a seat next time, particularly given the difficulties of Fianna Fáil TD Mr G.V. Wright.

Relieved to be a free man once more, Mr Higgins condemned the welter of criticism from the Opposition, media and others.

"My first thought is for the comrades I left behind in Mountjoy. There are very courageous men from Finglas on one side of the wall and women on the other. And it is a very, very big wall."

Having entered Mountjoy convinced of his righteousness, the Dublin West TD has come out armed with facts gleaned from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Just 15 per cent of all waste in 2001 came from households. So why do the latest Department of the Environment television advertisements concentrate solely upon them, he asked.

"Judging by that advert, one would think that the householder was the key component of the waste crisis and was responsible for an enormous apocalyptic disaster."

However, there is clearly a concern within the Socialist Party it has allowed itself to be painted as environmentally unfriendly.

Proper recycling services could allow householders to do better: "Incredibly, 279,000 tonnes of paper goes to landfill. So does 72 per cent of glass.

"If the Government had been serious over the last 6½ years they could have put into every local authority the basic infrastructure.

"Then there would be no excuse for householders," he said, because local by-laws could forbid paper or glass being put into rubbish bins.

"That would reduce the waste going into landfill by 37 per cent. Why has that not been instituted? Because we have a Government that is absolutely fraudulent.

"It is trying to throw waste in the eyes of the people to cover up for their own failures. We need to shout that from the rooftops," Mr Higgins declared to loud cheers.

The Government's actions are part of "a neo-liberal agenda" to privatise public services and to replace cuts in national taxation with increased local charges. Despite his imprisonment, the campaign is morally justifiable, he claimed.

"Whose law is it? It is Fianna Fáil law? It is Progressive Democrat law? It is not working-class law.

"It is law enacted for the privileged, for the bankers, for the Ansbacher men. One of the benefits from this campaign will be that people will see the rottenness of our society.

"Within nine days of this campaign we had people in jail. It's years since Ansbacher criminals were exposed. Not a single one has even been to court.

"It is years since the depth of corruption amongst Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael was exposed. Not a single one has been in front of a court."

Bankers, he said, have orchestrated a €1 billion fraud on the Exchequer.

"Not one is in front of a court of law, while working-class people are languishing in Mountjoy and Cloverhill."

The jailings and the campaign itself are now motivating people, Cllr Clare Daly told the audience. "We are at the beginning of change in this country.

"It is because we have the ability to lead that they fear us. It isn't easy for them to deal with us," said Ms Daly, who was separated from her 3½-year-old daughter during her term in jail.

Blaming large elements of the media for vilifying the protesters, the Fingal councillor said: "We are confident about the ability of ordinary people to see through the slander."

Many of the protesters still in jail had not been fully mobilised before they were sentenced. "They went into court. They know how badly the judge treated people in there.

"They felt that they had to make a stand. You should see them now. They are experts in government, in law, in the media," she told cheering supporters.

Condemning the Opposition for supporting the charges, she singled out Fine Gael, who sent a small group to protest outside the Gresham Hotel.

author by sumdumguy - indypublication date Mon Oct 20, 2003 22:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It was a good night, nothing better than watching Joe and Clare rip apart the government then getting pissed afterwords.

Oh and anyone notice Clare's allusion to facilitating a broad party incorporating all left groups, I thinks it time we did.

author by Antpublication date Mon Oct 20, 2003 22:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Clare's reference was to the need for a new party of the working class. That's something much bigger than a party of the united left groups.

author by radio listenerpublication date Tue Oct 21, 2003 00:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sent out protestors??? Was it the sleek and sexy YFG Trinty branch?

author by Antpublication date Tue Oct 21, 2003 01:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't know what branches of Fine Gael they came from, but they were mostly youngish men with side partings who looked like they were dressed by their mothers.

Despite being repeatedly plugged on the radio their pro-bin tax protest gathered no support at all.

Anyway I've just seen Joe Higgins on Questions and Answers doing the anti-bin tax campaign proud. He ran rings around McDowell.

I noticed that the presenter, Bowman, wouldn't let him answer the question on immigration. McDowell got to rant on about "bogus" asylum seekers while Joe was allowed precisely one sentence.

author by boo radleypublication date Tue Oct 21, 2003 01:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I wouldn't call them sexy!!

A right motely crew of book worms nerds and masturbating sickos.

They were a joke. I stood outside laughing at them for a few minutes, and in that time nearly every second passer by made some kind of negative comment towards them. I don't reckon we will see those FGers out on the streets again for a while

author by dorian greypublication date Tue Oct 21, 2003 02:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Joe wiped the floor with McDowell

I particularly liked the way Joe attacked McDowell regarding the failure of the prisons to seperate or recycle waste. He even butted in to effectivly say there was more waste being produced in prisons than Joe had initially claimed!

We've beaten them in debate tonight now lets beat them in the streets!!

author by mattpublication date Tue Oct 21, 2003 09:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That's not a nice way to talk about the Socialist Party!

author by Yossarianpublication date Tue Oct 21, 2003 11:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Anyone looking for a short and concise version of why we shouldn't be paying the bin tax should listen to Joe Moore from of the Cork Householders Against Sercice Charges campaign being interviewed this morning on Morning Ireland. Joe was very clear and articulate and responded to everything they (Joe Gavin, City Manager? and interviewer) tried to throw at him and even turned it around so they couldn't sneer at him 'cause they had no arguements left. Well done Joe.

Interview at the following link or if this doesn't work check the link to the Morning Ireland homepage:

Related Link:
author by Stop the bin taxpublication date Wed Oct 22, 2003 00:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Did you hear McDowell saying he would protest against the building of an incinerator in Ringsend, but only by legal means.

Joe's response was brilliant "Minister, you are a member of the government, you could stop it tomorrow if you wanted to".

author by apathy just confuses mepublication date Wed Oct 22, 2003 12:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i read that the bin taxer protestor wudnt protest if de bins of those who hadnt paid wer collected on monday..............well duh wow as if that wastn implied

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