A woman who claimed more than €18,000 in job seeker’s allowance while having €140,000 in her bank account has been ordered to donate €2,000 to charity.
Monica McDaid appeared at Falcarragh District Court charged with making a false claim against the Department of Social Protection.
The mother-of-two made the claims totalling €18,127.70, between 2013 and 2015.
Department of Social Protection Inspector Mary McGovern told the court that Ms McDaid, of Carrownamaddy, Dunfanaghy, was asked to declare if she had any savings in her accounts when claiming supplementary welfare and job seeker’s allowance.
The court was told that Ms McDaid’s savings came to light following information received by Revenue in February 2016 relating to a tax amnesty of which Ms McDaid’s name was contained.
When interviewed over her savings, Ms McDaid made immediate admissions.
All the monies claimed had been paid back in full to the Department.
Her solicitor, Mr Frank Dorrian, said his client was very candid about the money she had in her accounts.
However, he said she had disclosed one bank accounts and had presumed that the Department of Social Protection would then have access to all of her accounts.
“She thought this money would turn up in these accounts and everyone would know about it,” said Mr Dorrian.
Inspector McGovern said this would not be the case.
Mr Dorrian added the money had been an inheritance and that Ms McDaid was a 64-year-old mother of two adult children who had worked hard all her life in England before returning home to Donegal.
Judge Paul Kelly said the problem was that such offences were not blameless as there were many people in genuine need of social welfare payments.
He asked Mr Dorrian if his client was prepared to make a donation of €2,000 to St Vincent de Paul.
He adjourned the case until April 18th and said if the donation was made then he would apply the Probation Act.