Judge David Anderson has expressed his astonishment that a Mullingar man is planning to take 16 years to pay back money to the Department of Social and Family Affairs.
Robert Donoghue of 30 Springfield, Mullingar falsely claimed his brother’s dole for 22 weeks between May and November of 2008, receiving €4,351.60 in that time.
Donoghue is now paying €5 per week from his own payment of €100.
At that rate it will take 870 weeks or 16 years, noted Judge Anderson.
Ms Cronin said her client, who pays €100 per week in rent, is “in negative equity before he starts” and is hoping to be placed on the council’s housing list and be granted rent allowance.
The 20-year-old had been using the money which he gained by handing in his brother Thomas’s social welfare card at Fagan’s post office and sending him cash and clothes while he was in jail.
Ms Cronin said the family’s circumstances were very poor but a second €5 payment per week might be possible.
Judge Anderson adjourned the case to November 11 to allow Donoghue complete 24 hours of a previous community service order and to see what progress he can make on a compensation proposal.