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18/10/2021

Woman jailed under Covid rules for travelling the country for her 'special' line of work

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The judge said the woman would endanger people if allowed to continue

A woman arrested for breaching Covid-19 travel restrictions told the court that she had no address and she travelled the country for “special work.”

After hearing from the defendant, Judge Kevin Kilrane said he could not release her. 

“She is travelling up and down the country,” he said. “She has no address. I can only conclude that she intends to continue her present line of business.”

Czechian national Zdenka Weisshauptova, 50, of no fixed abode was arrested on Tuesday at Sligo Bus Station from where she intended to travel to Bundoran.

She was brought before Wednesday’s sitting of Donegal District Court. 

As well as being charged with breaching Covid-19 travel restrictions having left her place of residence without reasonable excuse, Weisshauptova was also charged with failing to state her name and address.

Both charges occurred at Sligo Bus Station, Great Edward Street, Sligo on February 2.

Garda Joe Evans gave evidence of having found the woman at the bus station while she was en route to Bundoran. He said that the previous day, she had been in Dundalk and Enniskillen.

“She goes from town to town,” said the garda, adding: “She is not an essential worker.”

The court heard that the defendant had been in Ireland for around six years and had lived in Cork and Omagh.

Judge Kilrane asked the defendant: “What is all this about, travelling around the country?”

Weisshauptova replied: “I am working.”

When pressed on the nature of her work, all she would say was: “Special work.”

The judge said: “Well, you had better take your ‘special’ work elsewhere.”

Inspector David Durkin told the court that gardaí had no objection to bail in principle, but were concerned about the lack of address. 

When asked what her most recent address was, Weisshauptova said she had rented a room in Manorhamilton for two months because of the Covid, but she had to leave. 

“It didn’t work well for the second person in the house,” she said.

Judge Kilrane sentenced the defendant to four months in prison for breach of the travel convictions. 

He said: “It is clear that this lady is ‘working’ in the state for the last number of years and the nature of her work takes her from room to room and house to house. 

“She had on her person €275 so it appears that her work sustains her. The problem is that she is travelling all over the country. This defies all rules. 

“The country is suffering economically and in human terms and in health terms because of the pandemic.

“I can only assume that if this lady is allowed to continue her trade, she is endangering people all over the country.”

The judge said he would wait two days before signing the warrant for Weisshauptova’s imprisonment. He had earlier indicated that with a guilty plea and an address, he would consider releasing her.

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