Limerick dole claimant had €233k in the bank

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

Kilmallock Court
A COUNTY Limerick man received just over €50,000 in dole payments while having €233,000 in his bank account, heard Kilmallock Court.

A COUNTY Limerick man received just over €50,000 in dole payments while having €233,000 in his bank account, heard Kilmallock Court.

Martin O’Connell, aged 61, of Ballybricken, Grange pleaded guilty to three summonses under the Social Welfare Act.

Aidan Judge, State solicitor, said applications for job seeker allowance are predicated on the fact that the person does not have sufficient funds to live.

“There was an overpayment of €50,401 to Mr O’Connell. The Department of Social Protection decided to investigate the accuracy of his application forms. It was discovered while drawing down over €50,000 he had on deposit €233,000,” said Mr Judge.

The offences took place between November 12, 2008 and August 28, 2013, said Mr Judge.

“He was interviewed by officers, was quite co-operative and put up the white flag. He has fully repaid it all. The department is at no financial loss,” said Mr Judge.

Mr O’Connell’s solicitor, Una Power said her client left school at an early age to take up an apprenticeship.

“He worked hard all his life until 2007 when he had to cease work due to a back problem. He lived with his parents until they both died.

“He was entitled to get job seekers allowance for a time but he accepts he acted stupidly when he applied when he wasn’t entitled to it.

“He is 61 years old and has never been before a court in his life. He apologises to the department,” said Ms Power. The solicitor said that the monies owed have been paid back

Judge Marian O’Leary fined Mr O’Connell a total of €5,000.