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'Greedy' man admits to 30k dole fraud despite having 90k in his bank

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
David Lawlor
David Lawlor

A FORMER council worker has admitted he unlawfully claimed almost €30,000 in dole payments after he repeatedly failed to declare a €90,000 inheritance.

David Lawlor, age 55, of Achill Road, Ballybrack, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to a charge under under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act for making six false declarations relating to undisclosed finances when he was claiming the Jobseeker's Allowance from December 2009 until January 2012.

The charge was brought by the Department of Social Protection. Prosecution solicitor Joseph Maguire told Judge John O'Neill the accused received €29,800 but has repaid all the money.

Mr Maguire said Lawlor came into an inheritance of around €90,000 which was in his bank account and he made a false declaration to the social welfare office.

The court heard that this sum, along with his wife's savings, were undisclosed finances which disentitled him from claiming the Jobseeker's Allowance.

Judge O'Neill said he was a “very greedy individual” but agreed to adjourn the case to allow him donate €3,000 to charity which could see Lawlor spared a criminal record.

Defence counsel Aoife O'Leary told Judge O'Neill her client had worked all his life and had been a tax-payer.

The court heard he was let go by Dun Laoghaire County Council in 2009 and he then signed on for the dole.

The grandfather is now taking part in a community employment scheme but hopes to get work. The court heard he had wanted to be able to travel to Australia to visit a grandchild and he was concerned that this could be jeopardised if he received a conviction.

Once the fraud was discovered he was challenged and accepted what he had done and was co-operative, counsel said.

Judge O'Neill said the man put his hand in tax-payers' pockets and took out almost €30,000 which he added, “smacks of a very greedy individual”.

“I think it is a pretty mean type of offence by you, many of the people who commit this type of offence, their backs are against the wall and it is easy to understand why they commit these type of offences, but you had money,” he told the defendant.

He adjourned the case until a date in November for him to give €3,000 to the Merchant Quay Project.  He said he would apply the Probation Act, which would see him spared a criminal record, if that is done before his next hearing otherwise the judge warned Lawlor would face other court sanctions, adding, “and I think you know what I am thinking”.

The offences, at district court level, can result in a fine of up to €2,500 as well as a possible six-month jail sentence.