I am shocked by the jailing of five water protesters for contempt of court yesterday

I wish to condemn these jailings and to call for the immediate release of the protesters

It is important to remember that these jailings are not as a result of any crime or act of violence committed, but for a technical ‘contempt of court’ issue.

They stand in stark contrast to the impunity of those who brought about the financial crisis which has resulted in untold hardship for communities across Ireland – hardship further exacerbated by the imposition of water charges. The movement against water charges has been based on mass peaceful protest, and this will continue.

The ultimate responsibility for these incarcerations lies with the Government who have made a political choice to impose water charges on communities. The protestors jailed today are simply protecting themselves, their children and their communities from further political attacks on their living standards. They should be freed without delay.

We have a country where 37% of children live in deprivation and 1.7 million citizens have less than €100 disposal income monthly. Moreover, another 500,000 citizens have nothing left after bills have been paid. The communities represented by the protesters jailed today are the human face of these statistics. I again call on the Government to show common sense, halt the installation of water meters and abolish these charges. This is necessary to prevent any further unnecessary confrontation in the interests of both communities and workers.

Seamus Healy TD 087-2802199