Public servant admits defrauding State of €147,000 in overtime
A RETIRED civil servant who defrauded the Department of Social Protection of €147,000 by claiming overtime he was not entitled to has been remanded on bail pending sentence.
Donal McBride (57) had been working as a higher executive officer for 10 years and had been with the department for 37 years when the fraud came to light. He retired with a pension and has been paying 25pc of that back to the department in order to make full restitution.
McBride, of Cluain Dara, Easton Road, Leixlip, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four charges of deception at Con Colbert House, Con Colbert Road, between August 26, 2001 and April 6, 2007.
Fergal Foley, prosecuting, told Judge Yvonne Murphy that the charges represented a sample of 59 counts over the period from December 2, 2001, to October 12, 2008.
Det Gda Peter Clifford said the department (formerly the Department of Social and Family Affairs) had conducted an internal audit and had discovered that McBride was the highest recipient of overtime.
Further checks were carried out and it was discovered that McBride had forged overtime claim forms.
He had added his name to a list of employees entitled to overtime after a senior official had signed the form to approve payment to the other staff.
Det Gda Clifford said that McBride had "co-operated as much as he possibly could have".
He said he had since received two lump sums from the department, which he paid back to them. He now owes more than €23,000 and is making monthly payments by deductions from his pension. McBride will have made full restitution by the end of 2014.
Det Gda Clifford agreed with Raymond Farrell, defending, that McBride had told gardai that he had been suffering from depression and was an alcoholic.
He accepted that he had always been held in high esteem and had been described by one of his superiors "as a person of impeccable character", while another said he had always found McBride to be "wholly reliable".
Mr Farrell said his client was separated with three children. He said he began to drink quite heavily in 1996 and began to suffer from depression in 1999.
McBride was treated for his mental illness in April 2009.
Mr Farrell told the court his client accepted that what he had done was extremely wrong as he was a person in authority who had abused his position.
He said he had lost his self-respect; he had to retire from his position eight years before he was supposed to and was paying a monetary penalty.
Judge Murphy adjourned sentencing of what she described as "a serious matter" to May.