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Couple fined for attending mass during lockdown would rather go to jail then pay fine

by Sophie Drew

A couple fined for attending mass during lockdown have said they would rather be thrown in jail than pay €300.

Jim Ryan (aged 64) and his wife, Anna (aged 59), travelled 70km to church on Palm Sunday 2021, despite a 5km limit being in place at the time. 

The couple appeared before the Cavan District Court earlier this month; they were convicted of the offence and ordered to pay the €300 fine - a balance they refuse to settle.

After immediately appealing the decision, retired firefighter Jim has stated he would rather face prison than foot the bill. 

"I will go to jail before I pay it. I would rather go to jail, without a shadow of a doubt," Jim told the Sunday World this week.

"I have no intention of paying them a fine for me going to mass - for doing what I have done my whole life."

Their stance has earned them respect amongst those protesting against restrictions in the Republic of Ireland. Despite their newfound status, the couple say they're not used to a life in the limelight.

Anna said: "I worked as a nurse and Jim worked in the Fire Brigade.

"We raised a nice family.

"We're not out there shouting with placards or anything like that and we were not out at any golf dinners either.

"We're just ordinary Joe Soaps - but with one difference, we honour God and we believe in God."

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