23/11/2010

Woman Charged Over Harney Paint Assault

A Dublin city councillor accused of throwing paint over Minister for Health Mary Harney at an official event has been formally charged with assault.

Éirígí activist Louise Minihan, who is in her late 20s, claimed responsibility for the attack at the beginning of November and was arrested after Mary Harney was sprayed with paint red paint at an official ceremony in Dublin.

The incident took place as Ms Harney was attending a turning the sod event at the site of a new health centre beside the Cherry Orchard Hospital in Ballyfermot.

Angry protesters had assembled carrying placards saying "bail out our hospitals, not the banks" and one threw a bottle containing red paint splattered the TD across the neck, hands and clothes.

However, Ms Harney continued with the turning-of-the-sod ceremony despite being covered in the red paint at the new Ballyfermot Primary Care and Mental Health Centre.

According to the website of Socialist republican political party, Éirígí, Minihan was arrested and taken to Ballyfermot Garda station before being released without charge at 11.30am.

Writing after her release earlier this month she said: "The red paint that I used in (the) protest is symbolic of the blood that Harney, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party have on their hands. Irish citizens are literally dying to satisfy the demands of the IMF, the EU and the money markets.

"The wealth of this country should be used to provide a first class health service that is open to everyone and not to bail out the private banks."

A Garda spokesman confirmed she had been charged with assault, damage to property, and causing a breach of the peace.

Ms Minihan was arrested at her home by three uniformed Gardai at 9.30am and was taken to Ballyfermot Garda station where she was formally charged.

She will appear in court on December 13th.

(DW/BMcC)

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