Youth worker helped probe into his €40k theft
A YOUTH worker who stole €40,000 from his employers over a six-year period has been spared jail because he "helped gardai investigate himself".
After James Brady (56) was caught, he repaid the full amount despite the available evidence only supporting the theft of around €15,000.
Brady worked for Youthreach, a state-funded educational and training programme for early school leavers that is run by the Dublin Vocational Education Committee.
The court heard the thefts involved him using the Youthreach account to pay for household groceries over the years.
Brady, of Abbey Park View, Dublin Road, Clane, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 17 sample counts of theft from Youthreach at Esker Hill, Lucan, between June 2004 and February 2011. He was originally charged with 65 counts.
The defence said it was an "exceptional and highly unusual case" because of the level of assistance Brady gave gardai.
Counsel said Brady "helped gardai investigate himself" and "created the case against himself". He added that it would otherwise have been a long and difficult probe that may never have reached the courts.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring imposed a three-year suspended term.
She noted: "Financial crisis has brought an increase in the number of cases coming before us of people with no previous convictions, unlikely to offend again, who had been considered pillars of the community, but who committed theft."
She added: "To be stealing from such an organisation is shocking and disappointing. I am sure they need all the money they can get."
Detective Garda Padraig Jennings told the prosecution that Brady was a co-ordinator with Youthreach for 22 years.
The thefts came to light after his employers received an anonymous tip-off. Brady made full admissions and volunteered to help the gardai with the investigation.