Woman (66) pleads guilty to two charges of failing to wear face mask in West Cork shops

Woman (66) pleads guilty to two charges of failing to wear face mask in West Cork shops

Margaret Buttimer at Bandon Court. Pic: Larry Cummins (FILE PIC)

A grandmother who told gardaí that she didn't believe in the Covid restrictions has pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to wear a mask whilst shopping in West Cork.

Last month Margaret Buttimer (66) received a suspended sentence and a fine for her refusal to wear masks in shops.

Prior to sentencing for her previous conviction she was jailed for the weekend as she had declined to wear a mask in the body of the court.

Today at Bandon District Court Ms Buttimer, who has an address at The Cottage, St Fintan's Road in Bandon, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health Act by refusing to wear a mask in Boots Store and an Aldi supermarket last month.

Inspector Emmet Daly outlined the details of the offences to Judge James McNulty.

He said that on the morning of May 12th last Ms Buttimer went in to the Boots Store on South Main Street in Bandon.

She was asked to don a mask with staff even offering her one. However, she refused to wear a mask onsite. She also refused to wear a mask when gardaí called to the incident urged her to put one on.

The second incident occurred two days later when Ms Buttimer refused to wear a mask in Aldi in Bandon. When gardaí arrived she informed them she would not wear a mask as she disagreed with the Covid regulations.

Inspector Daly said that Buttimer left the store but made several attempts to re enter.

Judge McNulty heard that Ms Buttimer had two previous convictions for similar offences which occurred last February. One was for breaches of the Health Care Act and the other was a public order offence.

On May 24th last Ms Buttimer had appeared before Bandon Court for refusing to wear a mask at Dunnes Stores in Clonakilty on February 12th last. She was found guilty of the offence of not wearing a mask in the store in breach of Covid 19 regulations.

She has called the manager of the store an “a**hole.” She apologised for calling the manager an expletive.

At the previous hearing Judge Colm Roberts imposed a three-week prison sentence which he suspended for a period of two years. He also fined Ms Buttimer €350 for verbally abusing a store manager.

Today Judge James McNulty asked if the fine had been paid for her last offence. Her solicitor Plunkett Taaffe said he did not think the funds had been handed over as of yet.

Ms Buttimer arrived in the body of the court without a mask today but was allowed sit at the back of the room for the brief hearing.

Mr Taaffe applied for an adjournment of the case as he said that his client was due to attend a consultant. He stressed that medical reports may shed light on recent events.

Judge McNulty asked if there were some concerns about the health of the defendant. Mr Taaffe said "That is the position Judge."

Judge McNulty convicted Ms Buttimer on both charges. Sentencing in the case was adjourned until July 12th next. Buttimer was remanded on continuing bail until her next court appearance.

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