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Saturday 30 August 2014

Gardai investigate 'misappropriation of funds' worth up to €1.2m at Department of Social Protection

Daniel McConnell Group Political Correspondent

Published 01/05/2014 | 12:20

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Joan Burton TD Deputy Leader and minister for social protection speaks to media  at the Labour party conference at Johnstown House Hotel, Enfield this afternoon.
Pic STEPHEN COLLINS/Collins Photos
Joan Burton, deputy Labour Party leader and Minister for Social Protection at the party’s conference at Johnstown. STEPHEN COLLINS/COLLINS

Three staff members at the Department of Social Protection are being investigated for misappropriation of funds, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has heard.

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Niamh O’Donoghue, the department’s general secretary, told the PAC that one of these staff members has been fired.

The other two staff members at the department, headed up by Minister Joan Burton, have been suspended as a garda investigation into the claims continue.

Two of the cases involve €1.2m and were referred to gardai in December 2012, Ms O’Donoghue said.

It’s claimed that one staff member “colluded with an outsider” over a six year period. It’s alleged the ‘outsider’ received more than €1m in funds, which would be €166,000 a year or €3,205 a week.

The department has insisted the €1m collusion scam was 'atypical'. They claim the money may be recouped in time, but nothing has been paid back to date.

Irish Independent

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