13 May 2015
By Bryan Smyth
The two accused, Mrs. Breda McCarthy and Mr. Boris Olsiak both of Orchard Heights, Charleville, Co. Cork were present at Mallow District Court on the 12th May. Mrs. Breda McCarthy pleaded guilty to the charge under the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995, as amended. In convicting, Judge Sheridan imposed a €250 fine. Mr. Boris Olsiak pleaded not guilty to the charge. Once the evidence was presented, Judge Sheridan marked a conviction, imposed a fine of €250 and awarded costs of €600. These two convictions follow seven successful criminal prosecutions in Cork, Dublin and Waterford during the past twelve months.
The outcome again places the spotlight firmly on the serious safety issues posed by unlawfully interfering with a natural gas meter. Last summer, the national grid operator launched an awareness campaign aimed at highlighting the safety issues posed by increasing incidences of unlawful interference. “Interfering unlawfully with a gas meter is a serious public safety concern.” says Owen Wilson, Head of Safety with Gas Networks Ireland. “By interfering unlawfully with a gas meter, people are not just putting their own safety at risk, but the safety of their families, neighbours and the general public. The consequences of these illegal activities could be costly or even fatal.”
Responding to the conviction, Con O’Donnell, Revenue Protection Manager with Gas Networks Ireland said “We firmly hope these latest criminal convictions send a clear message to those who are currently involved in, or thinking of, unlawful interference with a gas meter. We have received an increased number of tip-offs from members of the public concerned about the dangers arising from unlawful interference and safety is our number one priority. Whilst legal action is never desirable, this is a necessary step to protect public safety and we will continue to identify cases of unlawful interference and all cases will be referred, as appropriate, for prosecution.”
Members of the public are encouraged to confidentially report suspected or known cases of unlawful interference with gas meters to Gas Networks Ireland on 1850 200 694. The option to report online is also available at www.gasnetworks.ie/metertampering