An Irish grandmother has been jailed for 16 weeks after calling Ukrainian refugees "rapists and criminals" at a hotel in Cork.
Margaret Buttimer, 68, of no fixed address, pleaded not guilty to charges related to an incident at the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon on January 26.
Detective Garda Nigel Whelton told the Bandon District Court that he arrived at the hotel shortly after 3 p.m. on January 26 after receiving reports of a woman causing a disturbance.
He told Judge James McNulty that he and a colleague arrived at the hotel and observed a woman causing a disturbance in the reception area, according to the Irish Times.
"She wanted to know how many Ukrainian nationals were staying in this hotel, what was the cost to the Irish people, and saying ‘these Ukrainians are rapists and criminals’," Whelton told the court.
Whelton said he asked Buttimer to desist but said she continued to "make a scene".
She was later escorted outside the hotel and advised of the need to desist.
Whelton said he made numerous attempts to get Buttimer to desist, adding that he was left with "no option" but to arrest her over the incident.
The 68-year-old was later charged over the incident at Bandon Garda Station.
Buttimer's solicitor Plunkett Taaffe claimed that his client had asked if refugees in the hotel had been vetted as opposed to calling them "rapists and criminals".
However, Whelton said he had heard Buttimer "clearly".
The court heard that Buttimer had 13 previous convictions, including failure to comply with the Irish Government's Covid-19 regulations. She was also charged over similar incidents at the Munster Arms Hotel.
At the time of the incident, Buttimer was already under Probation Service supervision. Meanwhile, a psychiatric report requested at an earlier hearing was not ready in time for her most recent appearance at the Bandon District Court.
Judge James McNulty said he believed Buttimer had been influenced by others with a "warped and non-conformist agenda".
"I suspect she is under a malign influence," McNulty said.
McNulty sentenced Buttimer to 16 weeks in prison, backdated to when she entered custody and with half of the sentence suspended on the condition that she stay away from the Munster Arms Hotel or any other facility accommodating refugees and asylum seekers.