“People have said that the council should be paying him €150 a week instead of fining him”
Laois County Council will take 21 days to review an appeal to waive a €150 dog-fouling fine issued to a man in the Portarlington community who is known for keeping the town clean and was the Portarlington Person of the Year in 2015.
There has been a huge amount of community anger in Portarlington in the last two weeks as Terry Lawlor was reported to Laois County Council for dog-fouling despite cleaning it up soon after and the fact that he cleans the streets of the town regularly.
Cllr Aidan Mullins has said that Terry accepts that the incident took place but he went back and cleaned it up soon after it happened, without anyone telling him to. It is understood that he did not have a bag with him at the time but he was close to home and got one to clean up the mess.
Terry did not know that he was being fined until he got a letter in the post.
Read more below the picture.
Terence Lawlor, Jimmy and Dolores Murphy, Bernadette Beere and Geraldone Beere, the Portarlington GAA Club "Stars in Their Eyes" Show at The Heritage Hotel in Killenard. Photo: Michael Scully .
Cllr Aidan Mullins put in an appeal to Laois County Council to have the €150 fine waived due to the nature of the situation.
Terry is well-known for cleaning the streets after other people early in the mornings and community members have come forward to defend his position, saying that the fine should be torn up.
Cllr Aidan Mullins has said that the reply to his appeal was that it would take 21 days to process which he has said is “the height of ignorance and very disappointing”.
“The court of criminal appeal wouldn’t take as long.
“He didn’t know about the fine until he got it in the post so someone reported him.
“I put in his side of the story and asked if they would waive it, the amount of work he does locally is huge. I personally have seen him cleaning up after other people.
“It is very upsetting for him, he is just finished chemo for cancer and he did not need this.
“He was missing from the streets when he was sick and the place was a mess without him. If the council did their job properly he wouldn’t need to clean up after anyone.
“People have been saying that the council should be paying him €150 a week, not fining him.
“He is the type of person that was back cleaning the streets the next week after receiving the fine,” Cllr Mullins said.
Eamonn Bracken who owns Bracken’s Menswear in Portarlington has thanked Terry on Facebook with this message:
“I would just like to thank Terry Lawlor for his tireless work for our community as he goes out freely every day to clean the town.
“Only last Monday he came in to let me know he had cleaned up outside my shop where someone had thrown up on Saturday night...imagine if that was left unattended until Monday morning when I got to work.
“Terry regularly cleans up after similar incidents...not a pleasant job. So it goes without saying he would never leave dog poo unattended.
“He simply did not have a bag with him and went home to get it. I hope Laois County Council tear up that fine and that should be the end of it,” the message stated.
The Local Authority has until October 16 to decide if it will waive the fine or not.
The Laois County Council Dog Ownership booklet states: "If you do not clean up after your pet, you are liable to receive
an on-the-spot fine of €150 which if it is not paid means you can be brought to Court which can lead to a prosecution with
a much larger penalty."
Pictured at SuperValu Store, Portarlington, for the Grand Draw - organised by Portarlington Street Lights Committee , were: Bernie Bracken (Comm. member), V.Rev. T. Dooley, P.P. Portalington - drawing the winning tickets, Marcus Mc. Laughlin (Proprieter -SuperValu) , Terence Lawlor (Comm.) and Joyce Power (SuperValu). Photo: Michael Scully.