Joan Collins arrested at water charges protest

TD says: ‘If bad laws are brought in then they should be broken’

Joan Collins TD: “I break laws that are immoral and never should have been brought in.” Photograph: Collins

Joan Collins TD: “I break laws that are immoral and never should have been brought in.” Photograph: Collins

 

United Left TD Joan Collins was arrested yesterday for her role in a protest.

The TD for Dublin South Central was one of 13 people arrested for demonstrating as Irish Water workers tried to install a meter on the Parnell Road in Crumlin.

Ms Collins was questioned by gardaí under the Public Order Act before being released without charge.

“I was supporting the constituents in my community,” she said afterwards. “I believe I behaved the way I should have. I was elected by the people of South-Central – they elected me on my record of defying the bin tax and the household tax and working with people in the area, and I’m doing the same thing in the water meters.”

Ms Collins said up to 18 gardaí attended the protest in Crumlin and claimed this was an attempt to send a message to the greater public.

The TD said she would not stop her protest and insisted it was acceptable for some laws to be broken. “I don’t go around breaking laws every day of the week, but if bad laws are brought in then they should be broken. This country has a history of doing just that.

“I break laws that are immoral and never should have been brought in.”

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe said TDs who make the law have a duty to uphold it.“Those few people who have the opportunity to change the law and who have the privilege to do it and to pass new laws have a particular responsibility to obey that law once it is passed,” he said.

Up to 80 people marched from Sundrive Road to Crumlin Garda station in protest against the arrests.

Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD was one of the demonstrators and he labelled the arrests an attack on democracy.

“Communities will not be divided or distracted by these arrests,” he said. “Sinn Féin will stand shoulder to shoulder with residents in peaceful protest against the installation of these unwanted water meters.”

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan refused to comment on the arrests yesterday as the force was again accused of political policing.

“That specific incident is an ongoing investigation and you’ll appreciate it would be inappropriate to comment any further on that at this time.”

Meanwhile, the Economic Management Council will this week meet to discuss the measures to be taken against people who do not pay. Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly was due to update his Cabinet colleagues today but this has been delayed until next week.

A Government spokesman said the proposals were being teased out by different departments.