Woman claimed over €68,000 for three years after father’s death

November 7, 2019

A WOMAN claimed €68,488 in carer’s allowance and state pension for her late father for nearly three years following his death.

Shauna Tynan (53) of 38 Slieve Sneacht Letterkenny has been given a year to come up with the sum of money to be repaid to the Department of Social Protection which, the defendant says, will be raised through the sale of property. 

Fiona Crawford BL, prosecuting, told Letterkenny Circuit Court that Tynan was in receipt of €32,222 in carer’s allowance, while €34,265.60 in respect of a state pension for her late father were each paid for almost three years following the passing of her father, John James, in October, 2013.

Tynan had pleaded guilty to ten sample counts on the matter. 

Sergeant Harvey Maughan, who was attached to the special investigations unit at the Department of Social Protection, said he began an investigation in July 2016 after receiving information.

Sergeant Maughan said that Tynan would have been entitled to six payments after the death of her father. Sergeant Maughan had details of the death of Tynan’s father printed from RIP.ie.

The state pension monies were paid into a joint account in the name of Shauna Tynan and her father, while Tynan collected the carer’s allowance in person from the Post Office, Sergeant Maughan told the Court.

Sergeant Maughan interviewed Tynan in August 2016, when she said she had begun the process of registering her father’s death but did not complete the process as she was ‘having difficulty dealing with his death’.

The Court heard that Tynan is paying the carer’s allowance back with €21.83 per week and has just under €8,000 repaid. 

The debt in relation to the State Pension is attached to her father’s estate and has not been attached to Tynan yet. 

Barrister for Tynan, Ms Patricia McCallum, said her client was had suffered ‘severe depression and was completely overwhelmed’ following the death of her father.

“Her ability to think and act clearly were severely affected,” Ms McCallum said. “She was effectively a ticking time bomb that was bound to go off at some stage.

“She had previously worked as a dress-maker and eked out a meagre living. She did everything for her father, caring for him for seven years, and she did not deal well with his passing. She is still suffering from the effects. 

“None of the money was used to live a life of luxury and she is making efforts to repay the money.” 

Ms McCallum said her client’s family had come under attacks on social media following her arraignment. 

Ms McCallum outlined that her client would be in a position to source the €60,000 that is outstanding by way of selling property. 

Judge John Aylmer said his starting point would be a two-year prison sentence before taking into account mitigating factors.

Judge Aylmer granted a 12-month adjournment for the funds to be repaid.