Couple convicted over refusal to wear face masks in Aldi

ireland
Couple Convicted Over Refusal To Wear Face Masks In Aldi Couple Convicted Over Refusal To Wear Face Masks In Aldi
The couple received a summons to appear in court over the non-wearing of masks after their failure to pay on-the-spot fines.
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Gordon Deegan

A married couple who spent a combined 157 years “living peacefully and not troubling anyone” have been convicted over their refusal to wear face masks during the Covid-19 pandemic.

At Killaloe District Court, Judge Mary Larkin convicted Ryan Austin (81) and Nicky Austin (76) both of Woodpark, Mountshannon, Co Clare over their refusal to wear face masks at the Aldi store in Killaloe during a Covid-19 lockdown on January 26th last.

Solicitor for the two, Billy Loughnane, said that his clients have “over 150 years of living peacefully and never causing trouble in all that time”.

The two contested the prosecution and Mr Loughnane said: “They are very private people. The non-wearing of masks by this couple was a private matter and not any form of public protest.”

Mr Loughnane said that the wearing of masks causes stress to both of them. He said that their GP, as a matter of policy, will not provide letters concerning non-wearing of masks.

Refusal to pay fine

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The couple received a summons to appear in court over the non-wearing of masks after their failure to pay on-the-spot fines.

Judge Larkin imposed fines of €80 each on the couple arising from them breaching Covid-19 health regulations by not wearing face coverings while shopping at the Aldi store in Killaloe on January 26th last.

At around 11.40am on the day in the store, the two were approached by two local Garda detectives over their non-wearing of masks.

In evidence, Det Garda John Jenks said that after he advised the Austins that they should be wearing face masks, Nicky Austin replied: “I don’t have to wear a mask. It is not the law. Show me the law on it.”

Det Jenks said that he googled the laws on his phone and showed them to Mrs Austin.

Self-declaration form

Det Jenks said that he advised the Austins to wear masks to protect themselves and others.

He told the court that the two were at a vulnerable age in the context of Covid-19.

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Mrs Austin told Det Jenks that she had no Covid symptoms and in reply, Det Jenks told Mrs Austin that she may be asymptomatic.

Det Jenks said that Ryan Austin produced a self-declaration form that he did not have to wear a mask and Det Jenks said that the two could provide no medical reasons as to why they could not wear a mask.

Det Jenks stated that other shoppers came up to him and Det Sgt Ronan O’Hara during their conversation with the Austins to thank them for enforcing the Covid-19 regulations.

Mr Loughane asked Judge Larkin to set recognisance in the event of an appeal to the circuit court and Judge Larkin set recognisance.

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