A Dublin City Councilor has refused to apologize for dousing former Health Minister Mary Harney with red paint – and has even declined to make a charitable donation as an act of contrition.
Social Republican Louise Minihan (29) has been fined €1,500 and given a two-month suspended sentence after she was found guilty of attacking Minister Harney last November.
Harney, now retired from politics, was splattered with red paint by Minihan during the opening ceremony for a new health unit at a west Dublin hospital late last year.
Minihan declined Harney’s offer to make a charitable donation in lieu of the damage to her clothes, estimated at up to €800 by the then Minister.
And even after a Dublin judge rapped her over the knuckles and told her she had wasted tax-payers money by allowing the case to go to court, Minihan was unrepentant.
“It was a symbolic act,” insisted the mother of one who also refused to undertake community service or make a donation to charity in lieu of the fine after she was sentenced.
“This was a political protest and I stand over it. It was a legitimate form of protest against the minister and the Government, which has overseen the destruction of our health service.
“It was diluted red paint that I used, it was more symbolic of the blood that she has on her hands for the decisions she made as health minister.”
Minihan never took the stand at the case but Harney did give evidence to the court regarding the paintball attack.
“She approached me at the event and said she would like to have a word with me later. I said certainly,” Harney told the court.
“Later I turned and saw her holding some class of a bottle” and heard her say you have blood on your hands.
“The paint was on my shoulders and neck and on my woolen coat and dress
underneath, and my boots were damaged.
“I do not think it is an acceptable form of protest in a democracy.”
Former Sinn Fein member Minihan had a two-month prison sentence suspended and was bound to the peace for 12 months and fined €1,500.
“People are entitled to protest but are not entitled to do that,” said the judge.