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No jail for single mother who stole €20k in dole payments

CourtsBy Sunday World
No jail for single mother who stole €20k in dole payments

A single mother who stole €20,000 in social welfare payments has avoided a prison sentence.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Rose Kiely (35), whose partner was killed in a car accident, committed the offences in desperation and used the money to pay bills.

She is now repaying the money at €28.20 per week from her own social welfare entitlement which will take 13 years.

Kiely, of Juliet Square, St Edmunds, Lucan, Co Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four counts of stealing money which was the property of the Department of Social Protection (DSP) on dates between May 2013 and December 2014. She has no previous convictions.

Judge Martin Nolan said two people would suffer, Kiely and her child, if he sent her to prison and he had to decide if the crime was so serious that he had to impose a custodial sentence.

He said the State had to provide assistance to people who needed it and what Kiely had done was reprehensible. He said he accepted that it was an act of desperation.

Judge Nolan imposed a two-year sentence which he suspended in full.

Det Garda Niamh Seberry told Derek Cooney BL, prosecuting, information was received that someone was collecting a jobseekers allowance claim relating to a woman who was now living in Australia.

An investigation revealed that Kiely had attended to have her photo taken purporting to be this woman in order to receive a DSP card, and had also later attended to have a photo taken for a card in her own name. CCTV was also retrieved from Dodsboro Post office.

Garda conducted a search at Kiely's house and found a DSP card in the other woman's name in a car Kiely was using. Kiely made full and frank admissions during garda interviews.

A total of €20,100 was paid to Kiely in the other woman's name between 2013 and 2015.

Det Gda Seberry agreed with defence counsel for Kiely that her client had co-operated fully and there were no "untoward" amounts going through Kiely's bank accounts.

She agreed that Kiely told gardai that her rent had been rising and these offences had been an act of desperation. Kiely said the money was spent on paying bills and activities for her daughter and not on socialising.

Det Gda Seberry said she did not know if the other woman was aware of what was happening as she had not been in touch with her. She agreed Kiely had become estranged from her family and they were not aware of what she was doing.

Fiona Ferguson