Two Longford men held in contempt of court in connection with Covid-19 marquee wedding

Prison sentences handed down to father and son as judge criticises their actions during ‘a very dangerous time’ for the people of Ireland

Two men involved in the organisation of a marquee wedding with 100 revellers in County Longford during the height of Covid-19 restrictions in May 2021, in breach of public health guidelines at the time, have been held in contempt of court. This follows their failure to pay a fine of €3,000 each as ordered by Judge Keenan Johnson.

William Stokes, the groom, and his father Patrick Stokes, both of Willow Park, Strokestown Road, Longford, appeared before Judge Kenneth Connolly on Thursday afternoon where they were due to have €1,000 of that sum in court each, plus a proposal on how they plan to pay the remainder of their balance.

That order was a result of an appearance before Judge Johnson in April 2022 when the balance of the monies remained unpaid.

The court heard on Thursday that Patrick Stokes has had €1,000 made available to him by family members who wished to keep him out of prison. He also proposed to pay the balance in amounts of €50 per week.


William Stokes had no money in court. Niall Flynn, for the local authority, revealed that no monies had in fact been paid by William Stokes to date, despite €100 being pledged in court in June 2021. He proposed he would pay by weekly installments of €20 until the balance was paid.

Judge Connolly, upon reading the various orders previously made by Judge Johnson, confirmed that both men were indeed in contempt of their court orders.

“I think they are playing ducks and drakes,” he said, noting that in almost 18 months, William Stokes “hasn’t paid a nickel - not one”.

Patrick Stokes still owes €1,800, while William Stokes owes the entire €3,000 of his penalty.

“The court has been enormously indulgent,” Judge Connolly said, stressing that the marquee was erected during “a very dangerous time” for the people of Ireland.

In relation to Patrick Stokes, Judge Connolly handed down a two month prison sentence, to be served “with no remission” to purge his contempt.

William Stokes was sentenced to five months imprisonment, also to be served without remission.

In a “last ditch attempt” to get the two men to pay the balance of the money owed, Judge Connolly said he would put “a stay” on his order until November 11th