More Jailings But Deeper Anger

“WHEN I get out of prison, the first thing I’m going to do is stand in front of another bin truck,” said Declan Mahon only hours before being imprisoned in Mountjoy jail, Dublin.

Stephen Boyd, Dublin

Declan and the nine other jailed bin tax protesters will be in good company however, as they join Socialist Party TD (MP) Joe Higgins and councillor Clare Daly, already serving their one month sentences.

The jailed bin tax protesters’ heroic stand in the face of this intimidation is an inspiration to all and encapsulates the anger and hatred felt by many towards Bertie Ahern’s government in Ireland. On 13 October three more anti-bin tax protesters, one a pensioner, were jailed at the hands of Dublin city council.

The depth of anger against the bin tax is shown by the scale of non-payment and the fact that people are prepared to go to jail. But this opposition is about more than just the bin tax.

It’s also about the health and education cuts, the increases in the cost of living, the threat to reintroduce water charges and recent revelations of corruption and tax fraud involving politicians of Ahern’s Fianna Fail party. The bin tax is seen as just the latest attack on working-class people by this right-wing government.

The jailed bin tax protesters’ heroism must now be matched by the trade union leaders. The Socialist Party is calling on the union leaders to organise a city-wide work stoppage to force the government to release the bin tax protesters and to immediately end their policy of non-collection.

The Socialist Party, along with many others, is continuing to organise community based direct action to blockade bin trucks and bin depots. ‘Collect all bins or collect none’ is a demand which the anti-bin tax campaign’s tactics and actions must be built around.

AROUND 4,000 trade unionists and community activists marched to Mountjoy prison, Dublin, on 11 October in solidarity with the jailed bin tax protesters.

The march, organised by Dublin Council of Trade Unions, was joined by delegations of other trades union councils from around the country.

There are growing demands within the trade union movement for industrial action to defeat this unjust tax.

Jack O’Connor, president of SIPTU, Ireland’s largest trade union, called for the release of the jailed protesters. However, his refusal to call for industrial action to defeat the bin tax caused anger among sections of the marchers.