A BANDON grandmother, who a judge said has displayed ‘absurd selfishness’ has been sentenced to six months in prison for not wearing a face mask at a Bandon restaurant despite having been asked 15 times by a staff member to do so.
At a recent sitting of Bandon District Court, Margaret Buttimer (66) of The Cottage, St Fintan’s Road, Bandon pleaded not guilty for failing to wear a mask at Jake’s Restaurant in Bandon on November 17th last and received her seventh conviction in less than a year for similar offences.
Ms Buttimer had been convicted of a similar offence on October 21st and penalty had been deferred to this court date.
David Long, head chef at Jake’s Restaurant, told the court he was told by another staff member that Ms Buttimer came into the restaurant without wearing a face mask, refused to show a Covid cert and refused to leave when asked to do so.
‘I asked her 15 times to leave or wear a face mask and she refused every time,’ said Mr Long. He rang his manager and was told to ring the gardaí.
‘I gave her three or more chances and told her the gardaí were calling but she refused again. She was standing at the counter all this time and I was afraid about if other people saw her what would the consequences be.’
Defence solicitor Plunkett Taaffe said an updated report from a geriatric consultant psychiatrist showed that an MRI scan on his client was normal. Insp Emmet Daly said the defendant has seven previous convictions including six for this type of offence and one for public order.
Judge James McNulty said that it is a ‘truly sad and perplexing case’ and that the defendant is ‘re-offending and breaking the law.’ He ruled out community service when he said she was engaged in ‘persistent community disservice.’
He said there were three recurring features in this case and these were ‘the absurd selfishness of Margaret Buttimer’ as well as ‘her wilful disregard for the health of others’ and the ‘frequency and persistence of re-offending.’
He sentenced her to six months in prison for the offence from October 21st, and he sentenced her to six months for the most recent offence in Bandon but suspended it for two years. She must not enter any retail premises or any place of public without wearing a face mask.
‘If she does then a further six months sentence will be waiting for her,’ the judge said.