90-year-old in dish row has €1,500 legal bill waived
A 90-year-old woman said "justice has been done" yesterday when a judge ruled she did not have to pay €1,500 legal costs in a case involving a television satellite dish.
Ann Rudd said she was "very happy" not to have to pay a large bill to Dublin City Council.
Mrs Rudd hit the headlines earlier this month when it emerged she faced a legal bill of €2,200 for breaching planning laws by having a satellite dish on the front of her home on Saint Enda's Road, Terenure, Dublin.
The council agreed to reduce the bill to €1,500 after a meeting between her daughters and the council's solicitor Michael Quinlan.
But defending barrister Peter Maguire told Judge John O'Neill yesterday she could not afford to pay the €1,500 and that an exception should be made for her humble financial circumstances in the interests of justice.
The judge decided he would make no order about costs and dismissed the case.
Mrs Rudd stood outside the courthouse after the case with her daughters Anne Claxton and Teresa Davey and her son Peter Rudd and declared "justice has been done".
"I have had my family around me, there are women and men who have nobody. It was an oversight," she said.
The great-grandmother said she was shocked by the publicity she received following the initial hearing.
"I could not believe it. Me, little me? Australia, England, Wales, San Diego in California, people offered things.
"Bunches of flowers, money was sent and I gave it to charity. In Wales, a man wanted to start up a fund," she said.
Ms Claxton thanked the public for their good wishes as well as Judge O'Neill, the legal team and the news media.
Her barrister told the court she had an income of only €230 a week.
He said she did not fully understand the letters she received from the council about the dish as there was "a degree of senility" involved and she was somewhat confused by the letters.
But once her daughters became aware of the situation they informed the council they were undertaking to remove the dish, he said.
The dish was already removed when the summons was issued, he said.
The judge said the council had done everything properly and had granted her extensions of extra time to remove the dish and had agreed to a reduction in their legal costs.
The judge said he was disappointed that an agreement reached in talks between her daughters and the council on the €1,500 costs was not honoured by the family.
But, in considering the situation of Mrs Rudd, he would make no order for the payment of costs.
The council's solicitor, Michael Quinlan, said the council would agree to the charge being dismissed.