A man who refused to wear a face covering on a Bus Éireann coach last July, has been sentenced to two months in prison.

Castlebar District Court heard that Andrew Heasman, from Carrowmore, Knock, Co Mayo, had been asked by a bus driver to wear a mask properly, when travelling from Dublin to Knock, on 14 July.

Garda Thomas Bowens said he had refused to do this and that a number of passengers had gotten off the bus as a result. 

He said Mr Heasman was wearing the mask "like a hat" and refused to comply with a requirement that he cover his mouth and nose. 

The garda witness said that when he entered the bus, he outlined the legislation to the defendant, telling him he was committing an offence under the Health Act 1947.

In evidence, Mr Heasman said he told the gardaí he was exempt from wearing a mask for health reasons. He said the garda had asked him for medical evidence but he replied that under data protection, he was not required to provide that information.

The defendant said his uncle was being laid to rest on the day and he was travelling from Dublin for the funeral. He described the charges against him as "trumped up". 

Judge Fiona Lydon said that in the light of the public health emergency, Mr Heasman's behaviour had been 'totally inappropriate". 

She said she was satisfied that all of the ingredients required to secure a conviction had been satisfied by the State. 

The Judge sentenced Mr Heasman to the prison term for an offence of failing to wear a face mask on public transport at Main Street, Ballyhaunis on 14 July last. 

She took a charge of a breach of public order on the same date into account.