A WOMAN who stole almost €14,000 from a voluntary organisation which works with disadvantaged children has avoided a prison sentence.
Martina Keane, aged 40, of Glendale Lawn, Old Singland Road pleaded guilty to 10 sample charges relating to offences which happened on dates between January 2010 and June 2012.
Limerick Circuit Court was told the married mother-of-three stole the money while she was working for the Southill Youth Outreach Project.
The court heard Ms Keane transferred cash belonging to the youth project into her own bank account and that she also made unauthorised petty cash payments and pension contributions.
Detective Garda Denise Moriarty said concerns first emerged in September 2011 when a new manager began work at the youth project, which is based in the Galvone Industrial Estate.
A formal complaint was made in June 2012 and Ms Keane told gardai it was a relief when she was arrested and questioned the following November.
Michael Collins BL said the sums involved were “not princes’ ransoms” and that there was a “lack of guile, a lack of cunning and a lack of sophistication” on the part of his client, who resigned her position after the offences came to light.
Imposing a three-year suspended sentence, Judge Tom O’Donnell commented that a substantial amount of money had been taken and he said the actions of the defendant had “impacted on the overall capability of the project to fund its projects”.
He said Ms Keane had abused her position and that there had been a “significant breach of trust”.
The judge noted that €3,230 in compensation has been raised to date and that Ms Keane has agreed to pay a further €1,770.