Dublin man claimed €30k of dole while he had €90k in the bank

The accused received €29,800 but has repaid all the money
The accused received €29,800 but has repaid all the money

A former council worker, who admitted he unlawfully claiming almost €30,000 in dole payments after he failed to declare an inheritance, has avoided a jail a sentence

David Lawlor, age 55, of Achill Road, Ballybrack, Dublin, was given the Probation Act and spared a criminal record after he 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.

Judge John O'Neill noted the man had complied with an order made earlier to give €3,000 to the Merchant Quay Project. 

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.

The defence had said O'Neill had worked all his life and had been a tax-payer until 2009 when he was let go by Dun Laoghaire County Council and then signed on the dole. 

The grandfather is now taking part in a community employment scheme but hoped 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.

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.