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Covid regulations Grandmother who refused to wear face mask convicted of two breaches of Health Act

Margaret Buttimer (66)  previously said she only answers to God

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Margaret Buttimer (66). Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts

Margaret Buttimer (66). Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts

Margaret Buttimer (66). Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts

A grandmother who previously warned that she answers only to God was convicted of two breaches of Covid-19 regulations after refusing to wear a face mask in a supermarket and a pharmacy.

Margaret Buttimer (66) - who was last month described before a district court judge as "an enigma" - pleaded guilty before Bandon District Court to two breaches of Covid-19 regulations under the Health Act in west Cork on May 12 and 15.


Judge James McNulty was asked to adjourn the matter to allow the defence to prepare medical submissions for the court.


Defence solicitor Plunkett Taaffe said his client was due to attend a consultant over the coming days.
Mr Taaffe said that medical reports arising may assist the court in explaining the recent events.


Judge McNulty queried whether there were health concerns over the defendant.
"That is the position, Judge," Mr Taaffe said.


Last month, the grandmother received a three week suspended prison sentence for a separate breach of Covid-19 regulations on February 12 in a west Cork supermarket.


She also called the store manager an “a**hole” during the incident - but later apologised for the expletive and said she hoped the manager would forgive her.


The grandmother was remanded in custody for a weekend last May after repeatedly refusing to wear a mask when she appeared in court before Judge Colm Roberts.


Judge McNulty was told the latest two incidents involved her refusing to wear a mask in Boots pharmacy on May 12 and in Aldi on May 14, both in Bandon.


In the first case, she was even offered a new mask by staff but she refused to wear it.


In the second incident, she was escorted from the supermarket by Gardaí but then made several attempts to re-enter the store.


At the scene, she said she would not wear a mask because she did not believe in the Covid-19 regulations.
Mr Taaffe applied to Judge McNulty for an adjournment.


He said he wanted to prepare medical submissions for the court which may indicate a reason for the defendant not wearing a mask.

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Judge McNulty convicted the grandmother on both counts.


He agreed to the adjournment and remanded her on bail to appear again before Bandon District Court on July 12 next.


Last month, the court was told that the mother-of-two was deeply entrenched in her belief that the requirement to wear a face mask was a “gross intrusion of her freedom.”


Buttimer, of The Cottage, St Fintan's Road, Bandon, had told Gardaí who arrived at the supermarket on February 12 that she answered only to God.


Last month she received a three week sentence suspended for two years.


She was also fined €350 for a Public Order matter.


The grandmother was applauded by a small group of supporters after she left the Bandon District Court sentencing hearing last month.

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