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Dublin pensioner Anne Rudd (90) ordered to pay €1500 legal bill over satellite dish

Pensioner wins backing from Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Published 29/09/2015

Anne Rudd had been given the satellite dish as a birthday present. She said she did not understand the warning letter. Image: RTE
Anne Rudd had been given the satellite dish as a birthday present. She said she did not understand the warning letter. Image: RTE

A 90-year-old woman, who was prosecuted by Dublin City Council for having a satellite dish on the front of her home, has been ordered to pay €1,500 in legal costs for Dublin City Council.

Anne 'Peggy' Rudd, from Terenure, receives €240 a week on her pension.

A judge told her she will avoid a criminal conviction following her appearance in court today.

After her case was heard, she told RTE's Joe Duffy she was in "fighting form".

Speaking to RTE Radio One's 'Liveline' programme, she told broadcaster Joe Duffy the satellite dish that was the subject of the case was a present.

"I said it was just a satellite and it was to replace an old one," she told Joe.

"Actually it was a present, I said, for my birthday."

The pensioner, who was accompanied by her daughter Anne Claxton to court and other family members, was originally looking at paying legal costs of €2,000. However, this was reduced to €1500.

Mrs Rudd receives a weekly pension of €240, she told Joe.

"If it had went for €2,000, well I'd be a criminal I believe," she told the programme.

When Joe asked her if she would have been prepared to go to prison, Mrs Rudd said she was prepared on a matter of principle for the "whole thing and the way it was handled. The letters I got".

When the broadcaster asked if any staff member from Dublin City Council had called to her house to tell her the satellite dish was in breach of planning laws, she replied: "Never Joe. No, if they had came to the door and explained the situation, I would have had that taken down immediately."

After leaving Dublin District Court, her daughter Anne found out their car, which was parked on Green Street, had been clamped and they had to pay €80 for it to be released. The family believed their parking ticket was valid. "They [the council] had a very good day out of our family," Anne Claxton told 'Liveline' listeners.

Earlier today, Dublin District Court heard from the council that they warned the pensioner as far as back as February to remove the satellite dish which they said was in breach of planning laws as it was on the front of the house.

The council told the court an enforcement notice was issued in May. The council said the dish remained in place until July.

Court proceedings were then issued - the dish was removed but not within the time limit, the court was told.

The council said their planning enforcement officer did allow some leniency towards Mrs Rudd.

Mrs Rudd's daughter Anne Claxton told the court her mother did not understand the first warning letter, and the family only became aware of the situation in June.

Mrs Rudd has also received the backing of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who said: "Anyone dealing with an issue like that should be able to apply a measure of common sense and not have it end up in court."

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