Limerick court hears that oil rig worker received €16k in disability allowance

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Limerick District Court was told the man failed to notify the Department of Social Protection that he had secured employment on an oil rig off the Scottish coast

Limerick District Court was told the man failed to notify the Department of Social Protection that he had secured employment on an oil rig off the Scottish coast

A LIMERICK man who received more than €16,000 in social welfare payments which he was not entitled to was fined €400 and ordered to continue repaying the money.

Limerick District Court was told Sean Grimes of Hyde Road, Prospect, Limerick, failed to notify the Department of Social Protection that he had secured employment on an oil rig off the Scottish coast.

The defendant pleaded guilty to a number of charges relating to the overpayments.

Outlining the facts, solicitor Aileen Mee, prosecuting, said he was in receipt of Disability Allowance while working for a named company during various periods in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

She said he did not notify the department of his change in circumstances and that he received a total of €16,356 which he was not entitled to.

While some monies have been repaid in recent months, there is an outstanding balance of €15,961.

Judge Marian O’Leary was told a standing order which was set up by Mr Grimes last year was cancelled for a short time but that Mr Grimes is now repaying €40 a week to the department.

Solicitor Darach McCarthy said his client, who has no previous convictions, is a “young man who works hard”. 

He said working in the oil and gas industry is “not a life for everybody” and that his client found working off the Scottish coast to be a “tough existence”.

Mr McCarthy said Mr Grimes accepts he should have de-registered each time he secured work and that he intends to repay all of the monies.

“It was an administrative oversight,” he said asking the court to note his client’s cooperation and his guilty plea.

Noting that a standing order is now in place, Judge O’Leary imposed a €400 fine – giving the defendant 12 months to pay.