A farmer was paid almost €30,000 in farm assistance despite having almost half a million euro in various bank accounts.
Shane Dorrian appeared at Letterkenny District Court in Co Donegal charged with illegally obtaining payments from the Department of Social Protection.
The court was told that Dorrian, of Ross House, Rossnakill, Letterkenny claimed a total of €29,753 in farm assistance payments while having a total of €437,267 in various bank accounts.
State solicitor Ciaran Liddy told the court that Mr Dorrian had declared in 2013 that he did not have in excess of €20,000 in his bank accounts.
Solicitor for the accused, Mr Cathal Quinn, told the court that his client had worked for up to fifteen years as a plasterer in America.
He has saved hard and had returned home from America having paid all the taxes required of him.
Mr Quinn added that Mr Dorrian had got it into his head somehow that he did not have to disclose the money he had saved.
“He had it in his own head that because he paid taxes in America he should not have to disclose it. It was unwise but there was nothing devious or calculated about it,” said Mr Quinn.
He said his client was now a full-time farmer after his father transferred the ownership of the farm to him.
All of the €29,753 had since been repaid.
Judge Paul Kelly remarked that the accused had had all this money in the bank and he still tried to take social welfare and asked if all of the €437,267 was gone.
Solicitor Quinn replied that his client was “very ashamed of what he had done.”
Judge Kelly said that if Mr Dorrian was willing to make a donation of €2,500 to St Vincent De Paul, then he would consider not recording a conviction.
The case was adjourned until November 7th.