Wednesday 7 December 2016

Fine Gael TD fined over €3k for breaking litter laws with posters

Tom Tuite

Published 04/10/2016 | 15:18

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock
Fine Gael TD Noel Rock

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock has been fined more than €3,000 for breaking litter laws with his “keep the recovery going” posters.

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The 28-year-old Dublin North West TD and Public Accounts Committee member with an address at Hardiman Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 9 was summonsed to appear in court on nine counts under the 1997 Litter Pollution Act in relation to his posters.

The case was heard at Dublin District Court on Tuesday however he did not attend the hearing which proceeded in his absence.

The charges were brought by Dublin City Council.

Evidence was given by three litter wardens and the court was given photos of the posters put up around his constituency,  including ones with the TD's picture and a slogan saying “keep the recovery going” and other information about his availability at his clinic on January 14 last.

The court heard that two posters were unlawfully still on display at Prospect Road on February 3 last. Litter wardens spotted four more of the posters on January 28 at Iona Road, Griffith Avenue and Drumcondra Road. They found another one of his posters at Collins Avenue on January 26 last.

The general election was not called until February 3. Council litter wardens also found one of his election posters that was left up too long after the February 26 vote.

Judge John O'Neill noted that Mr Rock had no prior convictions.

The offence can result in a fine of up to €4,000 per offence. Judge O'Neill imposed nine fines each worth €350, totalling €3,150. He also acceded to prosecution counsel Karen Denning's application to order Rock to pay €221 in legal costs.

Mr Rock, who was elected to the Dail in the 2016 general election, is the youngest Fine Gael Dublin TD, representing the Ballymun electoral area, which includes Drumcondra, Glasnevin, Whitehall, Beaumont, Santry, Finglas and Ballymun.

In 2006, the DCU graduate was selected to take part in an internship with US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile Independent councillor Cieran Perry pleaded guilty on Tuesday to Litter Pollution Act charges in relation to posters with his picture and which mentioned a water protest in Dublin on Jan 23 last.

Litter wardens spotted them on Feb. 3 and the council argued that they should have been taken down within seven days of the event. He claimed they were exempt as they were part of his general election campaign and he reused posters because he has limited resources.

Judge O'Neill said Cllr Perry, who represents the Cabra Finglas ward in Dublin, was a decent man but the law was against him. However, he gave him a chance to avoid a conviction and told him the case would be struck out if he paid  €221 in prosecution costs and donated  €500 to the St Vincent de Paul before Jan. 17 next.

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