Irish grandmother jailed for weekend after repeatedly refusing to wear a mask in shops

Irish grandmother jailed for weekend after repeatedly refusing to wear a mask in shops

AN IRISH grandmother who repeatedly refused to wear a mask in shops has been jailed for the weekend.

Margaret Buttimer ignored the advice of friends, family, her partner and the court by continually going without a face covering, claiming she only answers to God.

The final straw came when the 66-year-old appeared before a judge for the second time without wearing a mask.

She was subsequently held in contempt of court and sent to jail until Monday.

Buttimer was appearing at Bandon District Court having attended a hearing at Clonakilty District Court earlier this week where she was charged with refusing to wear a mask at Dunnes Stores in Bandon on February 12.

During the initial hearing, the presiding Judge Colm Roberts heard how Buttimer had verbally abused the shop’s manager, Gary Emerson, when he asked her to provide a medical reason as to why she wasn’t wearing a mask.

Buttimer refused to answer, telling Emerson she only answered to God.

When Gardai were subsequently contacted she became agitated, calling Emerson an “asshole.”

She later repeated her claim of only being answerable to the Almighty when Garda officers arrived on the scene.

The 66-year-old was taken to a garda station where she once again refused to wear a mask and declined to provide her personal details to officers.

Buttimer expressed remorse for her remarks to Emerson but continued to defend her actions during the first hearing at Clonakilty court, telling the judge she simply did not believe in masks and it was her choice not to wear one.

Judge Roberts countered that it was also her decision to enter a shop without wearing one, breaking Ireland’s Covid-19 rules in the process.

The case was adjourned to give the defendant time to reflect on her behaviour and appoint a lawyer.

However, she returned to Bandon Courthouse on Friday once again not wearing a mask and proceeded to “smile” at Judge Roberts.

Having defied the rules of both the court and country, the Judge felt he had little choice but to jail the Irish grandmother for contempt.

Buttimer will appear again on Monday for sentencing. She is also due to appear in court again on June 14 on other similar charges.