herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Jailed protesters on hunger strike

Water Protester Derek Byrne
Water Protester Derek Byrne

Three of the water meter protesters who were jailed last week for violating a court injunction have gone on hunger strike.

Paul Moore and Damien O'Neill were handed down 56 day custodial sentences, while Derek Byrne was sentenced to 28 days for breaching a court ruling that ordered the men to stay at least 20 metres away from all water installation works.

A fourth protester, Bernie Hughes, was given a 28-day sentence. Since being incarcerated the three men have refused food as they were transferred from Mountjoy jail to Wheatfield Prison, a move they have claimed was politically motivated.

The men have also threatened to refuse fluids as of today if they are not transported back to the Mountjoy facility.

A statement written on behalf of Dubliner Derek Byrne said his family can't make the trip to the Clondalkin-based institution and his children are in an "emotionally distraught state" as a result.

"We were moved out of Mountjoy because of a political decision. We have taken the steps to go on hunger strike and have been on hunger strike since yesterday," a statement on behalf of Derek Byrne read.

FLUIDS

"If we are not moved back to the Mountjoy Training Unit as we were told we would be, then on Monday morning we will be taking it further and refusing fluids until we are moved back to Mountjoy," the statement said.

"Two young children are being kept from their father and are now in an emotionally distraught state."

The statement said the mothers of the children were being denied financial aid due to the incarceration of the three men.

Mr Byrne apologised after calling President Michael D Higgins a "midget" at a demonstration last month.

A spokesperson for the Irish Prison service said they do not comment on the individual cases of prisoners.

rschiller@herald.ie

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