TD tells Dail that mother jailed for alleged contempt of court for failing to surrender family home is on hunger strike in Mountjoy.

‘This is day six, and the woman is refusing food.’

Sligo News File.

The mother of two children jailed for alleged contempt of court for failing to surrender her family home is on hunger strike in Mountjoy prison, the Dail was told today.

Mattie McGrath,TD, Independent.

Deputy Mattie McGrath said he wanted “to raise the jailing of Irish families at the request of receiver Paul McCann of Grant Thornton.”

He said: “A mother was jailed on Friday last for alleged contempt of court for failing to surrender her family home. This is day six, and she is refusing food.

“The receiver’s actions came at the end of last week when, by agreement, the valuers for the vulture fund, Grant Thornton receivers and the owner were in discussions to resolve the issue. Late last Friday evening the High Court ordered the retention of the woman in the detention centre in Mountjoy Prison.

“This is day six, and the woman is refusing food. She has two teenage children.”

Deputy McGrath went on to say that European law “does not allow judges to jail citizens in this way.

“The Supreme Court in April of this year heard an appeal on this very issue, where the human rights organisations also joined in to highlight this unlawful behaviour of the State in the manner of how people are jailed at the request of banks, vulture funds and the Irish State. The decision of the Supreme Court is awaited. What is going on?

“In the meantime, this person is still in jail. She has two teenage daughters at home, being minded by family. Will the Taoiseach make a statement on the matter?”

There is current legislation, he said. “It should not be happening in our country.”

Minister for Justice Deputy Charlie Flanagan said it was not the practice, “as I am sure the House will appreciate, to comment on individual cases, the facts of which are not particularly clear.”

“I do not think it is either fair or reasonable to ask a Minister to comment on an individual case before the courts.”

Deputy McGrath: “It is not incorrect; it is factual.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle Pat the Cope Gallagher: “There are other ways of dealing with this.”