Limerick election candidate fined over illegal signs

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

ORMER IFA president and unsuccessful general election candidate John Dillon has been fined for failing to remove flashing electronic signs which the county council claimed were a safety hazard.

ORMER IFA president and unsuccessful general election candidate John Dillon has been fined for failing to remove flashing electronic signs which the county council claimed were a safety hazard.

Mr Dillon argued he was entitled to use the signs, bearing the message “Dillon Delivers” as part of his election campaign under the Roads Act – and also said he had offered to move them to wherever the council wanted.

But Will Leahy, solicitor for Limerick County Council, speaking in Newcastle West court, said the prosecution was being brought under the Planning Act. Under this Act, he said, the use of the giant, electronic flashing signs was not exempted if they were considered a danger to public safety or an obstruction.

One of the signs was in a field adjacent to the Lantern Lodge roundabout in Adare, the other at Court, Kildimo.

Michael Fogarty, an enforcement inspector in the planning section of the county, told the court that on February 7 last, his section got a copy of a letter written by county secretary Eugene Griffin to Mr Dillon.

This letter said the signs were a potential hazard and should be removed. Mr Foley consulted with a senior engineer on the matter, inspected the signs on February 10 and recommended that an enforcement notice be sent to Mr Dillon asking him to remove the signs within 24 hours.

This notice was sent on February 10 by registered post but when Mr Fogarty visited Kildimo on February 14 and Adare on February 15, the signs were still there.

John Dillon told the court he “didn’t see” and “didn’t handle” any letter sent by the council. “I didn’t say I didn’t get it,” he said when cross-examined by Will Leahy. However, he admitted he spoke to Gerry Behan, a council official by phone and Mr Behan had told him his signs were a danger to the public. “

Judge Mary O’Halloran fined John Dillon €200 and she ordered him to pay the costs of Limerick County Council, which totalled €2,000.