Waterford mother charged with “holding religious gathering in garden” during Covid lockdown 

A young mum from Waterford is to appear in court charged with failing to pay a fine for holding religious gathering in her garden during lockdown. 

Catherine Sunshine has received a summons to attend court on the matter which is alleged to be a breach of the Covid-19 restrictions

The mother of 3 told the Irish Examiner that she believed she had not acted unlawfully.

“I don’t believe neither from a legal nor moral nor spiritual point of view have I done anything wrong,” she said

Ms Sunshine said she “would not pay the fine, even if it meant going to prison”.

The alleged offence is said to have occurred on April 30 of this year and Ms Sunshine was fined €500. When the fine went unpaid, she received a summons to appear in Carrick-on-Suir District Court in Co Tipperary on October 7 .

If she is convicted, she faces the fine being doubled to €1,000 and/or imprisonment.

Ms Sunshine told the Irish Examiner: “I won’t pay the fine because I see this as an admission of guilt. I don’t believe neither from a legal nor moral nor spiritual point of view have I done anything wrong. I do not regret my decision.”

She said the event was not a “large indoor party” but instead “a religious gathering outside in my back garden with only a small number of people, with a person playing a guitar as part of Christian worship.”

“I’m not sorry for my conduct,” she added. “Whilst I respect gardaí, I will not compromise when it comes to freely exercising my fundamental right to religious freedom enshrined in our Constitution.

“We have compromised a lot the last year and a half, making church attendance illegal crossed the line for me.”

Ms Sunshine has asked the public to join her in prayer outside the Court on October 7 at 10.30am, the paper reported.

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