A BUNDORAN man who used his sister’s PPS number to falsely claim €3,150 in Pandemic Unemployment Payment had his case struck out today.
Mark Rooney (35) of Single Street, Bundoran, was before Ballyshannon District Court.
The court heard that Rooney, who has no previous convictions, filled in his sister ’s name and her PPS number in an online application for the payment.
A garda, who is attached to the Department of Social Protection told the court that the department carried out a review of payments to a woman.
The defendant pleaded guilty to a charge that on April 15 last year at 21 Crest Of the Wave, Bundoran, he created and used an instrument to submit an online application for a PUP to the Department of Social Protection in the name of his sister.
He also pleaded guilty to a charge that on April 21 at AIB Lower Main Street Ballyshannon, to stealing a PUP for €350 in the name of the woman which was the property of The Department of Social Protection.
The defendant pleaded guilty to three more identical charges that happened on April 28, May 5 and May 12 of last year.
It was discovered that Ms Rooney was in full employment and not entitled to the PUP payment.
Miss Rooney said she had not applied for the payment and had no knowledge of it
The defendant met with the garda and admitted the deception at interview.
Rooney had since paid all the money back to the Department, the court was told.
Defence solicitor Rory O’Brien said his client had full co-operated at the interview where his father was also present.
Rooney was not suitable for a Community Service Order, the court heard, and Mr O’Brien said there was a ‘bigger picture’ at play.
Mr O’Brien said it was a ‘one-off incident’ which was an ‘embarrassment’ for the defendant and his family.
Judge Raymond Finnegan said the offence would merit a conviction, but he asked Rooney to come up with a €500 donation, €250 of which is to be given to the North West Hospice and the other €250 to be given to the Donegal Hospice.
The charges were struck out.