Judge adjourns case of social welfare fraud to see if payments are made

Judge Mary Devins adjourned the case against a Cloonfad man who had defrauded the state of €22,027 over the course of four years. Eamon Ruane, 5 Westview, Cloonfad, Ballyhaunis, pleaded guilty in court to the charges of falsely declaring his income from 2004 to 2007 and not informing the State that he was working. Ruane was in receipt of the farm assistance payment and working part time as a labourer, but never filled out on the form for the farm assistance grant that he was working at all.

Anthony Gavin, an investigator with the Department of Social Welfare, told the court that he investigated this case and spoke to Ruane’s employer who told him that Ruane had indeed been working for him as a labourer on average of three days a week over the four years, and he showed him all the documentation in relation to his working for him.

Mr Gavin told the court that he interviewed Ruane on July 23 2008 and he admitted the offence. A one time payment of €461 had been made in 2009 and a standing order of €50 a week had been set up at the end of December 2009 to pay the debt. “The main aim of this kind of prosecution is to ensure that the State gets paid back the money it is owed,” Judge Mary Devins told the court. “I won’t convict today, I will adjourn the case for six months to see that these payments are being kept up and we’ll see then.”

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