An elderly man has ended up paying more that 30 times his original fine in expenses on account of the sense of threat he felt from the man for whom he did a good turn by allowing him to stay in an illegal mobile home on his lands, the Circuit Court learned this week (December 7 ).
Paddy Meares (70 ), a retired Teagasc consultant from Ballycreegan, Kiltoom, Co Roscommon had been fined €100 in the District Court earlier this year for non-compliance with an enforcement order issued by Roscommon County Council after he failed to remove a caravan and mobile home from his lands by December 16, 2009, and Meares was in court this week to seek a further extension on the latest compliance date.
Meares’ solicitor Mr Paul Connellan, told the court that the caravan had since been removed but that the mobile home was “a more permanent fixture”, and that his client was seeking an extension until February to achieve compliance.
Meares told the court he was going to move the mobile home to a site elsewhere on his land and apply for proper planning permission for it.
Mr Connellan then explained how Meares was “in fear from a third party” and that this had delayed his compliance with the enforcement order, as Meares was allowing the third party - named in a previous court case as Gerry Fallon, an inveterate drunkard with 160 convictions - to stay in the mobile home.
Mr Connellan told Judge Anthony Kennedy that Meares hadn’t made a complaint on this issue to the authorities because: “His faith in the system is not the same as yours or mine”.
“Is it that individual who is all too well known to me?” asked Judge Kennedy, pointing to the third party’s name on a letter to Roscommon County Council in the court documents.
“Yes, judge. He was in contact with Mr Meares only last weekend,” said Mr Connellan.
“He is positively parasitical,” said the judge.
“Mr Meares is do-goody and a lot of thanks he got for it.”
Mr Connellan told Judge Kennedy the reason Mr Meares had lodged this appeal to extend the compliance date was that “he felt his reasons weren’t properly listened to in the District Court”, and asked him to “exercise whatever discretion you can”.
“There’s nothing I can do other than affirm the existing order with costs and expenses,” said the judge, granting the one month extension on the council’s compliance order until February 2.
On top of the original fine of €100 plus €90 expenses from the first date in the District Court, Meares had still to pay €1,336 in costs outstanding, and an additional €1,850 costs from this week’s Circuit Court date, which came to a grand total of €3,176.