A man who stole over €10,000 from the organisation that runs the annual Gay Pride Parade, while working there as their financial director, will be sentenced next January.
John Finucane (35) of Bridgewater Quay, Islandbridge, who has a previous conviction from England for engaging in a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old boy, was warned by Judge Mary Ellen Ring to disclose his criminal activity to his parents before they read about it in the papers.
He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to a number of counts of stealing cash from the Dublin Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBTQ) organisation based in Capel Street on dates between October 29, 2011 and December 11, 2011.
The charges represented Finucane using the cards for unauthorised payments, totalling €10,403, over nine weeks.
Detective Garda Derek O’Rourke told Michael Bowman BL, prosecuting, that Finucane was working in a voluntary capacity as financial director of the organisation at the time and had access to two credit cards.
He either bought items with the card or withdrew cash from ATMs using the PIN that had been supplied to him. Finucane paid for hotel rooms and into nightclubs for himself and his then partner, bought Christmas presents for his family and friends and flowers for his partner’s mother.
Det Gda O’Rourke agreed with Lorcan Staines BL, defending, that Finucane later told gardaí that he had been planning to kill himself and was anticipating that a payment due to him could be used, upon his death, to reimburse LGBTQ.
“He had made a decision on what he was going to do with his life and had decided to rain gifts on people,” Mr Staines said.
He told Judge Ring that his client’s seven previous convictions from England relate to what he termed as a consensual relationship with a 13-year-old boy, but acknowledged that obviously the child was not capable of consenting to such a relationship.
Finucane was 25 years old at the time and counsel said the relationship had not gone further than kissing. The child had sent him photographs of himself but Finucane had not replied to them.
He served 18 months in prison for the offence and returned to Ireland when he was released. It was the first such conviction under legislation that had recently come into existence in the UK.
As part of his sentence he was due to report to gardaí in Ireland and when he failed to do so he received a further conviction in the District Court.
Mr Staines told Judge Ring that Finucane’s parents don’t know about his involvement in this offence and he does not have the funds to reimburse LGBTQ.
He said Finucane suffers from anxiety, depression and stress and had been diagnosed with a serious illness around the time of this offence.
Finucane had been seeing a psychologist throughout his life and had suffered thoughts of suicidal ideation for many years. He is currently studying for a degree in Economics.
Judge Ring said €10,000 was “a significant loss” to a voluntary organisation such as LGBTQ and Finucane’s actions represented “a significant betrayal”.
She adjourned the case to next January and ordered a probation report for that date. Finucane was remanded on continuing bail.
Det Gda O’Rourke said LGBTQ is a run voluntarily by a board of directors that organises the annual Gay Pride Parade.
Finucane put himself forward as financial director while working full-time as a student and as such had joint responsibility with a second director for the organisation’s two credit cards.
He admitted to gardaí that he first withdrew money when his partner and he could not get a taxi home following a concert in the city centre. He used the funds to book a hotel room for the night.
Gardaí were alerted to the thefts by another LGBTQ director in January 2012 and Finucane made a voluntary statement the following July.
By that stage he had written a letter of resignation to the organisation admitting the thefts and promising to pay them back.