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pleaded guilty Dublin man who claimed dole while working at garda HQ is spared jail and criminal record

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Building worker Denis Curran. Photo: Collins Courts

Building worker Denis Curran. Photo: Collins Courts

Building worker Denis Curran. Photo: Collins Courts

A DOLE fraudster who claimed social welfare while working as a civilian employee at garda headquarters has been spared jail and a criminal record.

Denis Curran (56) was paid a total of €2,466 after making false declarations to claim benefits 11 times, a court heard.

Judge Bryan Smyth applied the Probation Act, leaving him without a recorded conviction after hearing the money had since been paid back in full.

Curran, of Dunard Avenue, Dublin 7, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of theft and two charges under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, on dates in 2019.

The accused had entered his plea earlier this year and the case came back before Dublin District Court for sentencing.

Judge Smyth said documents submitted to the court about the offences had an emphasis on the impact on the accused’s family but “there is also the effect on the wider community.”

Defence solicitor Michael Kelleher said the offending happened in a relatively short period and the accused had never been in trouble before.

He took the case very seriously and was ‘deeply ashamed’ of what he did, Mr Kelleher said.

Curran had had debts and made a ‘bad decision’ which ‘had ripple effects’.

The case had had ‘quite a big impact’ on him, Mr Kelleher continued.

All the money was paid back "relatively quickly" through deductions from Curran's social welfare.

Judge Smyth said it was a substantial amount of money and a "serious breach of trust."

Mr Kelleher said Curran had done everything he could since then to address it in a proper fashion, and asked for leniency.

Judge Smyth said in the circumstances he would leave the accused without a conviction and applied the Probation Act.

The accused was not required to address the court during the hearing.

Previously, Detective Sergeant Bryan Hunt told the court that on 11 occasions, Curran was granted social welfare benefits and twice on a date in August last year he made false declarations to the department.

He did not disclose that he had been working as a civilian member of staff at the Garda HQ in the Phoenix Park, and at Mountjoy Garda station in Dublin city centre, Det Sgt Hunt said.

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