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Friday 9 December 2016

Dillon hit with fine for flashing signs

Martin Ryan

Published 17/05/2011 | 05:00

Former IFA president John Dillon's bid for a seat in the Dail in the recent general election has landed him in trouble with the law.

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Two roadside flashing electronic signs, used to convey the messages 'Dillon Delivers' and 'Vote Number 1 Dillon' in Limerick have cost the former farming leader €2,500 in fines and costs after officials at Limerick Co Council claimed in court that the signs constituted a safety hazard.

The court was told that warning and enforcement letters had been sent to Mr Dillon requiring him to have the signs removed within 24 hours, but they were still in place days later.

Speaking in Newcastle West Court before Judge Mary O'Halloran, Mr Dillon argued that that similar signs were used at other locations in the county, including one warning of low flying aircraft and that election candidates in neighbouring counties had also used the same type of sign.

The farmer said he was sure that he was entitled to put up the signs in the same way as election posters under the Roads Act 1993.

Confusing

However, solicitor William Leahy, acting for Limerick Co Council, told the court that the prosecution was being brought under the Planning Act, under which flashing signs were not exempted if they were considered to be a danger to public safety or an obstruction. Mr Leahy said one of the signs was at a roundabout and could be confusing to drivers at night.

The solicitor added that planning permission had been granted for the low flying aircraft sign that Mr Dillon had alluded to.

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Judge O'Halloran imposed a fine of €100 per sign on Mr Dillon because of his good behaviour but ordered him to pay the county council costs of €2,000.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Dillon said he would consider appealing the decision in consultation with his legal adviser and added that an on the spot fine of €300 had been issued by the county council in respect of another sign at Court, Kildimo, Co Limerick.

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