Former Irish Farmers' Association President John Dillon, who was jailed this morning for the non-payment of a €200 fine, has been released from Limerick prison.

Mr Dillon was jailed for failing to pay a court fine for his use of electronic display signs during last year's General Election.

He spent about two-and-a-half hours in prison and said he was given no reason for his early release.

The courts service has confirmed that the €200 fine and costs of €2,000 have been paid.

Mr Dillon had been taken away by gardaí from his farm at Pallasgreen, Co Limerick, just before 11am.

After the election, two fines of €100 were imposed on him at Newcastlewest District Court for the erection of signs contrary to the planning acts.

There was also an order to pay €2,000 in expenses, for his use of electronic signs during the campaign, which Limerick County Council insisted needed permission.

However, Mr Dillon said he would rather go to jail than pay the money.

In a statement, he said the signs he used were also used by other candidates in several constituencies and that he was singled out.

Mr Dillon, who stood as an Independent, secured 4,395 first preference votes in the Limerick constituency.

He was eliminated on the fourth and final count.

Mr Dillon served as leader of the IFA from 2002 to 2006.

In 2003, he led a ''tractorcade'' protest through rural Ireland during which relays of tractors were driven from various parts of the country for a major demonstration in the centre of Dublin.