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01 Dec 2021

Men fined after travelling to cemetery in Offaly during Level 5 Covid lockdown

Men fined after court hears Longford driver went to Offaly cemetery during Level 5 lockdown

Men were prosecuted for breaching the Covid travel regulations

A CAR was driven to a graveyard after being stopped by gardai near Kilbeggan during the Level 5 lockdown, Tullamore District Court heard.

Joseph Lawrence, 32, Mac Eoin Park, Longford, was driving a car on the N52 at Hallsfarm, Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath on March 20 last, Garda James Cullinan told the court.

There was no appearance for Mr Lawrence in court when his case was called. There was also no appearance for a co-accused, David McDonagh, 54, Farnagh, Longford, a passenger in the car.

Both were summonsed for breaching the Covid-19 travel regulations in force at the time.

The prosecutions had been adjourned on two previous occasions and Garda Cullinan said registered letters had been sent to both men.

Garda Cullinan said that on March 20, a Saturday, Tullamore had the highest Covid rate in the country, in addition to there being a Level 5 lockdown in place.

He spoke to those in the vehicle, including a third individual, who was not before the court.

Garda Cullinan said he explained that a journey could only be made for an essential purpose and Mr Lawrence told him that Mr McDonagh's aunt was “very, very sick” and he had been asked to bring him from Longford to Tullamore.

They did not know the address of the aunt and she wasn't in hospital. Garda Cullinan said he was then told by the third individual that they were going to visit a grave.

The car then proceeded into Tullamore and they drove around the town “not knowing really where they were going” and they eventually went to a graveyard which they found in the dark.

Judge Catherine Staines fined Mr Lawrence and Mr McDonagh €200 each.

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