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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 June 2006, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK
Jail 'shocks' tax protest brother
Father Liam Rooney
Father Liam Rooney said his sister believed she was helping others
The brother of a 69-year-old woman jailed for not paying her council tax has spoken of his shock at seeing his sister sent to prison.

Josephine Rooney, who lives in Hartington Street, Derby, refused to pay her council tax bill in protest at the state of her neighbourhood.

She had 800 to pay, but said the city council had failed in its duties.

Father Liam Rooney said he was shocked to see his sister handcuffed but said she wanted to do it to make a stand.

"I knew it was likely to happen but nothing can prepare you for seeing one of your own family being handcuffed.

She said she was prepared to suffer for her cause
Father Liam Rooney

"I never really tried to change her mind but I tried to find out why she was doing it and there is quite a history there," he said.

Father Rooney said his sister had told him that she was prepared to suffer a prison sentence to highlight her cause.

She had been campaigning for six years against anti-social behaviour, litter and the disrepair of properties which she said had blighted the area.

'Drastic action'

"She feels she is doing something for others. To help people who find themselves with a cause to fight.

"In her own words, she said, 'When people are pushed into a corner and their rights are taken away from them, there comes a time when they need to take drastic action'."

"She always believed we live in a free and democratic country and thought the policies of her local authority were in conflict with this."

He said he had considered paying her council bill but had talked it over with his sister who felt it would scupper her campaign.

"She said she was prepared to suffer for her cause and accept the consequences of her actions."

Council tax protester is jailed
26 Jun 06 |  Derbyshire
Council tax pensioner gets award
09 Jun 06 |  Derbyshire

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