News

Serial dumper convicted of dropping rubbish outside shop 146 times

Julia Ahern
Julia Ahern

THIS is the serial rubbish dumper who has been convicted of carrying out a bizarre campaign where she dropped bags of household waste outside a supermarket on 146 separate occasions.

Julia Ahern had been spotted an incredible 146 times on CCTV dumping rubbish bags at a shop in her home town of Bagenalstown in Co. Carlow.

This week the 56-year-old was warned that she was facing a prison sentence at a hearing in the District Court unless the littering campaign came to an end.

No reason was given during the District Court hearing as to why Ms Ahern persisted with the dumping, even after she had been approached by a garda.

“Strange things happen, it’s a strange world,” she told the Sunday World when asked what was behind the spate of littering.

At her home in Bagenalstown this week Ms Ahern declined to talk about her case, although she pointed out that she had not entered a plea.

“Thank you for you interest,” she added politely.

Owner Tom Connolly said the dumping stopped last February, adding: “I’m just glad it’s all over. We’d have preferred if she stopped sooner.”

At her recent court hearing, in which she defended herself, Ms Ahern denied that she was the person seen on CCTV dumping the bags at Connolly’s SuperValu.

The 56-year-old avoided a jail sentence but has been ordered to stay away from the supermarket and warned she could end up behind bars if she breaks the order.

Environmental officer James Lakes said he was given CCTV footage which showed Ms Ahern dumping litter outside the shop on August 23 last year. 

As a result she ended up in the District Court last February where she was fined €300 and ordered to pay €404 costs.

Lakes said that he had to continue removing bags of rubbish left outside the shop or in the foyer on a daily basis. The rubbish posed a health and safety risk to members of the public, he said.

Ms Ahern cross-examined the environmental officer, who said that he was 100 per cent certain she was the person in the CCTV footage.

Two gardaí also gave evidence that they were certain it was Ms Ahern who appeared in the CCTV footage.

 

One of the gardaí said that he investigated the matter when Mr Connolly spoke to him about it.

He said the businessman was “upset and concerned” about what Ms Ahern was doing and asked if it could be dealt with “discreetly and appropriately.”

The officer added that Ms Ahern refused to speak to him about the littering, which continued every day since August.

It was also heard that 10 years ago two charges of public order offences against Ms Ahern were struck in which she had been accused of threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour outside he supermarket.

The officer said in court that Mr Connolly was “bewildered, aghast and afraid” of Ms Ahern’s behaviour and he wanted to live life as normal.

Although Ms Ahern denied she was the person on the CCTV, Judge John Cheatle said he was satisfied that she was guilty.

In court, she replied: “You can be satisfied the earth is flat, but that doesn’t mean it is.”

When he asked her if she would be willing to be bound to the peace, she replied that she hadn’t committed a crime. The judge warned her to stay away from the business and Mr Connolly’s home, his staff and relations and to stop dumping rubbish.