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Masking questions €500 fine for Kerry man whose refusal to wear mask was ‘beyond comprehension’

A guilty plea was entered in his absence by Mr O’Connell to a charge of entering a premises without wearing a face mask and without a reasonable excuse for doing so

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Stock image. Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Stock image. Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Stock image. Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

A solicitor described his client’s refusal to wear a face mask while in a shop in Listowel last year as ‘beyond comprehension’– given his client had a mask and was not opposed to wearing them on principle.

Solicitor Pádraig O’Connell was speaking in the case of Nathan McCarthy, 6 Slí na Spéire, Clieveragh, Listowel.

A guilty plea was entered in his absence by Mr O’Connell to a charge of entering a premises without wearing a face mask and without a reasonable excuse for doing so – contrary to the Covid Regulations.

The case was heard by Judge David Waters at Listowel District Court on Thursday where prosecuting Garda Sergeant Kieran O’Connell explained that members of the An Garda Síochána were called to the Spar on the Bridge Road in Listowel on June 4 of last year.

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Solicitor Padraig O'Connell

Solicitor Padraig O'Connell

Solicitor Padraig O'Connell

He had entered the shop at 7.20pm on the date. But Mr McCarthy, who was known to staff, refused to wear a mask when they asked him to, Sgt O’Connell explained.

Gardaí later spoke to him and cautioned him at his home in Listowel. “He laughed and said he forgot his mask before he entered the shop,” the Court was told.

Pádraig O’Connell said his client had ‘acted in a very foolish manner’. “The fact he didn’t wear a mask made him totally identifiable. There was no logic to his decision not to wear it, he had a mask.”

He said his client was not opposed to masks on principle, nor was he ‘anti-vaxx’ as he has had all shots.

“I think he just got a bee in his bonnet about wearing the mask. It’s beyond comprehension and he is profusely apologetic over it,” Mr O’Connell said.

Judge Waters convicted and fined Mr McCarthy €500 for the offence

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