Joe Higgins infuriated over Begg's "Stab in the back".

Prison rules do not allow Socialist Party T.D. Joe Higgins to speak to the media or issue Press Statements.

To-day Joe Higgins expressed his frustration at being gagged but told a Socialist Party Colleague Mick Barry who visited him in Mountjoy that he was "infuriated" over the attack which ICTU General Secretary David Begg made on the Anti Bin Tax Campaign.

He said that Mr Begg's statement was a "deliberate stab in the back to the hundreds of thousands of working people and their families in the Greater Dublin area who are demanding the immediate suspension of the non-collection of refuse bins from householders boycotting the bin tax and the abolition of the tax in favour of proper funding of local authority services from the taxes workers pay Government."

"Who is Mr. Begg representing?" Joe Higgins asked. "The big majority of the trade union membership affiliated to I.C.T.U. have through their National Conferences adopted a clear policy of opposition to double taxation in the form of local taxes. So Mr. Begg's attack is expressing his view and not that of the membership he is supposed to represent."

Joe Higgins said it was "an incredible situation that not only is the Anti Bin Tax Campaign under attack from the Government, and from leading members of the so called Opposition in the Dáil but now the leadership of the trade union movement, flying in the face of its membership is prepared to be a mudguard for the Fianna Fáil/Progressive Democrats Government."´

Joe Higgins told his visitor "Is it any wonder that with the leadership of the Irish Congress of Trade Union in its pockets, this Government can feel free to give massive tax breaks to big business while piling on a plethora of stealth taxes on ordinary working people; can abolish the first time house buyers grants while allowing obscene profiteering in the housing market create endless misery for the scores of thousands now priced out of a home".

Joe Higgins said that Mr. Begg tried to raise the issue of proper funding for local authorities but his attack on those fighting the bin tax means the Government has no problem carrying on hitting the usual suspects for taxation.

Joe Higgins accused Mr. Begg of "gross dishonesty" in alleging that the Anti Bin Tax Campaign might cause privatisation of the bin collection services in Dublin. "The reality is that the dozens of local authorities which have privatised domestic refuse collection did so after they had forced a bin tax regime and browbeat households into compliance."

"In any case Mr. Begg has no moral authority to speak as an anti privatisation champion having been himself a willing tool in the preparation of Telecom Eireann ? a vital national asset ? for privatisation a scheme which burned thousands of small people conned into purchasing shares.

Joe Higgins accused Mr. Begg of feebly attempting to justify the bin tax in environmental grounds. "Mr. Begg falls for the line that the bin tax is a serious environmental policy ? in fact it is a substitute for a policy and in reality a crude revenue raising measure.

Finally, Joe Higgins asked, "after 16 years of so called partnership between trade union representatives, government and employers, it would seem that Mr. Begg doesn't remember who he is supposed to defend or represent. If he couldn't bring himself to articulate the feeling of the majority of trade union membership in opposition to the bin tax, he should have chosen a shamed silence over open treachery".