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Steal worker Woman avoids jail after stealing €23k from employer which led to colleagues losing jobs

After mother-of-two took €23k from employer, the office was shut and colleagues lost jobs but judge suspends the jail term due to her 'money pressure'

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Maura Keogh refuses to talk to our reporter

Maura Keogh refuses to talk to our reporter

Maura Keogh refuses to talk to our reporter

This is a mother-of-two whose theft of more than €23,000 from her employer led to the closure of the premises and to colleagues losing their jobs.

Despite the 'ripple effects' of 60-year-old Maura Keogh's crimes, she walked free from court this week after Judge Melanie Greally suspended her entire two-and-a-half year sentence.

Approached by the Sunday World afterwards and asked if she had anything to say, Keogh replied "No," before shutting the front door of her Celbridge home.

Details of Keogh's thefts from CS Construction Spares Ltd, Clondalkin, on dates between December 31, 2015 and September 6, 2016, were outlined previously.

Garda Linda Ryan told prosecuting barrister Tony McGillicuddy that Keogh was the accounts manager at the firm until the theft was uncovered.

She said Keogh had volunteered to lodge cash and cheques from the machinery distributor's trade counter for several months, saying she was "going to the bank anyway".

When Keogh went on holiday, another colleague discovered a discrepancy between the amount on record and the amount lodged on August 26, 2016. Cheques worth €1,365 had been lodged, but €340.50 in cash had not.

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Maura Keogh

Maura Keogh

Maura Keogh

When her employers confronted Keogh at a meeting on September 16, that year, she admitted what she had done and was dismissed four days later.

The total amount she pleaded guilty to stealing was €23,366.

In his victim impact statement, which was read before the court, CS Construction Spares's owner Joseph O'Reilly said he preferred a management style which ­afforded his senior staff ­"almost complete autonomy" in the day-to-day running of the firm.

He said Keogh had been part of a team to which significant responsibilities had been delegated.

There was a "ripple effect" which hurt morale among staff across his group of businesses.

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In the end he had to close his Dublin premises and move the CS Construction Spares business to his head office in Dunleer, Co Louth.

Several of Keogh's colleagues also lost their jobs as a result.

Defence barrister David Fleming said his client's husband had been seriously ill since the late 1990s, which had left her as the sole breadwinner for her family and his full-time carer.

He said she was "under serious financial pressure" when she took the money and was "desperately trying to keep her head above water". He said the position she was in allowed her the opportunity to make this "mistake".

"This isn't the case where Ms Keogh took the money to fund a lifestyle which she couldn't afford. She hated what she was doing and had always intended to pay it back," he said.

"But every time she did it the hole was getting deeper."

He said that she is a mother of two adult children, one a ­professional athlete, the other working in England.

Passing sentence, Judge Greally said that while under financial pressures Keogh had "succumbed to the temptation" to steal.

"This episode of offending appears to have been a very serious aberration from an otherwise law-abiding life," the judge said.

She said Keogh has expressed considerable remorse and has "made good" the amount stolen.

She has no previous convictions and has been assessed as being at a low risk of reoffending.

She sentenced Keogh to two-and-a-half years imprisonment but suspended the sentence in its entirety on strict conditions.

Contacted at the company's Dunleer address by the Sunday World on Thursday, a staff member said Joseph Reilly had no further comment to make.

"He just wants to let it rest," the staff member said.

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