10 Aug 2022

Tipperary Covid-19 travel rule breaker was 'going to clean untidy family grave'

Tipperary Covid-19 travel rule breaker was 'going to clean untidy family grave'

Nenagh District Court was told a garda stopped a man in Knock, Roscrea, who was said he was going to clean an untidy family grave

A Thurles man who was found to be outside the 5km travel restriction during Covid-19 lockdown last year told gardaí he was on his way to tidy family grave, Nenagh District Court was told.

Thomas Connors, 2 Cabragh Court, Thurles, pleaded not guilty to breaching the regulations at Knock village, Roscrea, on February 21, 2021.

Sgt Leonard Conaty of the Garda College, Templemore, said that he was on patrol on the day when he came across a number of vehicles at Knock village. One vehicle had a horsebox attached and another had a trap on it.

Sgt Conaty said that he noticed vehicles coming in their direction and drove on to Knock where he saw more vehicles. However, most of them moved on.

Mr Connors was a passenger in one vehicle and Sgt Conety said that he was unhappy with the reason given for being in the area and issued a fixed charge penalty notice.

"Knock is not on the main thoroughfare between Thurles and Roscrea," he said.

Mr Connors, who represented himself, said that he was a back passenger in the vehicle and had nothing to do with any racing that might have been happening.

However, Sgt Conaty said that the driver had said that they were "fixing a race".

In his direct evidence to the court, Mr Connors said that they had been going to visit graves and had "nothing to do with that race and nothing to do with the men who were there".

He said the driver of the vehicle had never said that they were there to see horses.

"We were going to clean up a grave that belonged to my wife's great-grandfather," he said.

Asked by Judge Elizabeth MacGrath where the grave was, Mr Connors replied: "I don't know where the grave is, but it is in Roscrea."

He said that his wife had wanted to bring her grandfather to see the grave and they were going to clean it up.

Under cross-examination by Insp Amanda Reynolds, Mr Connors agreed that he had been outside the 5km limit, but maintained that he was entitled to visit a grave under the regulations.

"The law stated that you could attend a funeral but not visit a grave," said Insp Reynolds.

Judge MacGrath said that the driver had said that they were visiting horses and this had also been said by Sgt Conaty. Mr Connors had said that they were visiting a grave that had not been kept for a long time.

"I don't find this credible," she said.

Judge MacGrath fined Mr Connors €100 and fixed recognizance in his own bond of €250.

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