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Morning in jail a waste of time – TV licence couple

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RELEASED: John and Angela Young, from Cushlawn Park in Tallaght

RELEASED: John and Angela Young, from Cushlawn Park in Tallaght

RELEASED: John and Angela Young, from Cushlawn Park in Tallaght

A RETIRED couple who spent yesterday morning in prison for not having a TV licence said they have made sure their children have theirs up to date.

John Young (65) and his wheelchair-bound wife Angela (63) both faced jail after failing to raise a fine of €600 each.

But after having their details taken the couple were let go home again.

The Youngs, from Cushlawn Park in Tallaght, presented themselves to Tallaght garda station at 9am yesterday.

Mr Young, who is awaiting a hip replacement, said the first he heard about the TV licence problem was a final notice letter he received about a month ago.

After arriving at the station they were met by a community sergeant and brought by taxi to the Dochas Centre at Mountjoy Prison, where they were taken in at 9.50am.

FINE

But Angela emerged in her wheelchair less than 30 minutes later, and John was released later in the morning.

"They were all lovely people in there and treated me with respect, and after they took my details they told me I was free to go," Angela told the Herald.

"It's all been a waste of time and taxpayers' money really," she added.

The taxi bills to take the Youngs to Mountjoy, wait for them and bring them home cost nearly €200, according to John – more than the cost of the €160 TV licence.

John said he was in a holding cell for a short period of time and had his fingerprints taken, but was treated well.

"Everyone was very nice, but it's not a place I'd like to stay. I'm glad to be home now," he said.

"Our house was flooded three times in the bad weather in recent years, and getting a licence went out of our minds.

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"Actually we are entitled to a free one because John is on disability, and he turned 66 last week too so we don't have to buy one now," Angela explained.

"I've made sure all our children have their licences up to date so they don't end up in this position," she added.

The couple faced jail because they could not pay a €1,200 fine in relation to not having a licence.

BENEFIT

"I get €207 per week pension and Angela gets €188 long-term sickness benefit," John told the Herald.

"There's not a chance we could come up with the €1,200. If I had the money, I'd pay it," he added.

John needs the use of a crutch to get around, while Angela, a diabetic, is confined to a wheelchair.

Local gardai called to their home last Saturday morning to collect the fine, and when the Youngs told them they did not have it they were told they would have to attend the station yesterday.

In 2012, 272 people were jailed for non-payment of TV licence fines.

hnews@herald.ie

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