éirígí Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan was today taken to Mountjoy Prison to serve up to seven days imprisonment for her ‘red paint’ protest against former Minster for Health, Mary Harney.
In November 2010 Cllr. Minihan poured diluted red paint over Harney’s clothing as the ‘Minster for Death’ took part in a publicity stunt on the grounds of Cherry Orchard Hospital, which is located in Minihan’s constituency. In February 2011 Minihan was handed a two month suspended sentence and a €1,500 fine following her conviction on charges of assault and criminal damage, relating to the Harney protest.
At the time of her sentencing Minihan informed the court that she had no intention of paying the fine, knowing that non-payment would result in her imprisonment instead.
Shortly after 2pm today, Minihan was arrested in her Ballyfermot constituency before being transported to Mountjoy where she can be held for up to seven days.
Speaking prior to her arrest, Cllr. Minihan remained defiant saying,
“My protest was a legitimate political action, which should never have been brought before the courts. I never intended to pay any court-imposed fine or to apologise for my actions. To have done so would have undermined the legitimacy of my protest and the wider political struggle against the anti-social policies Mary Harney so proudly championed.
“Harney’s ideologically driven policy decisions inflicted unnecessary pain and suffering on hundreds of thousands of people. There is no doubt that her policies resulted in many unnecessary deaths, particularly amongst the most vulnerable in our society. Mary Harney has blood on her hands and should hang her head in shame.
“My protest was taken in defence of vital services at Cherry Orchard Hospital and the wider public health service. During her term as ‘Minister for Death’ Harney chose to run down the public health service, regardless of the resulting human misery and suffering. I am proud to have taken a stand in defence of the public health service and will be not be deterred by a couple of days in jail.”
Minihan concluded by calling for the resignation of the current Minister for Health, James Reilly, “Since coming to office the current Minister for Health, James Reilly, has shown that he is intend on privatising our health service, just like Mary Harney before him. Recent revelations have shown that he himself stands to financially benefit from such privatisation, making his position as Minister for Health totally untenable. He needs to resign from his position immediately.
“The time has come for the current two-tier healthcare system to be abandoned. The people of this country are entitled to and deserve a first-class public healthcare system which treats people on the basis of need and not wealth. Any further cutbacks, or attempts to privatise our health system, must be met with fierce resistance on our streets and in our communities.”