A BANDON grandmother, who refuses to wear a face mask in public, will now have to observe a day-time curfew, after she was arrested two days after appearing in court on a similar offence in a Bandon supermarket.
Margaret Buttimer (66) of The Cottage, St Fintan’s Road, Bandon – who has seven previous convictions for similar offences – appeared at Bandon District Court where it was claimed she refused to wear a face mask at Jake’s Café in Bandon the previous day while out on bail relating to a similar offence where penalty was deferred until December 16th pending the production of an MRI scan.
She was arrested, brought to Macroom District Court and remanded in custody overnight until her court appearance where her solicitor Plunkett Taaffe said that he was not in a position to deal with it in a plea.
Mr Taaffe said he cannot explain his client’s behaviour but added that there’s ‘no doubt’ she is extremely forgetful.
‘She is in denial about being forgetful and when asked to wear a mask she insists on her rights to be there without a mask,’ said Mr Taaffe, who sought bail for her.
He said this ‘manifestation of defiance’ is a recent thing in her life and that she had no previous convictions previous to these incidents.
Mr Taaffe said her partner is ‘literally minding her 24/7’ and has no help and is unable to get it from her extended family.
‘He went out to get messages that day and he thought by doing it himself it would help but she then went out and got a coffee,’ said Mr Taaffe.
Sgt Paul Kelly said the State’s only objection to her being released on bail was her ‘persistent and constant offending’ despite giving undertakings in the past not to commit offences while out on bail.
Judge James McNulty said as well as committing offences while on bail, it is compounded by the fact that she hasn’t allowed herself to be vaccinated, and while he said she presents well she is still breaking the law.
‘The Covid risk for front line retail staff is escalating and she persists in not wearing a face mask.
‘Apart from the dangers to them and other citizens she too is at risk by placing herself at risk of airborne transmission for a woman of her age,’ said Judge McNulty.
‘She’s vulnerable and if she falls ill she’s going to need hospitals and add to an already stretched hospital list.’
Judge McNulty noted what was happening in Austria where those who are unvaccinated have to restrict their movements.
‘Maybe we have to adopt the Austrian model here to ensure that Margaret Buttimer stays at home.’
A bail surety of €500 was required from Ms Buttimer’s partner in order to secure her release.
Strict conditions were attached to it including that she must observe a daytime curfew between 9am to 9pm.
The only exception is when she goes out for exercise or is visiting her elderly mother, where she must be accompanied and supervised by her partner, an adult relation or a trusted friend. Judge McNulty also directed that she is not to enter any shop in Bandon or any place where the public will be including post offices and churches until her trial on December 16th on these latest alleged breach of Covid regulations.