Jobless Traveller buys van worth €15,000
Published 26/09/2010 | 05:00
Just four months ago, unemployed settled Traveller Patrick Dooley bought a 2007 Renault Traffic van worth between €8,000 and €15,000.
The van is currently parked outside Mr Dooley's €300,000 home at Forest Close, a pretty enclave of houses at Ballyspillane, on the eastern edge of Killarney, Co Kerry.
Mr Dooley has not worked for 18 months and is currently in receipt of €2,280 a month in social-welfare payments, including €1,000 a month in state subvention to pay for his mortgage, taken out with sub-prime lender Start Mortgages, and €320 a week in unemployment benefit.
Details of Mr Dooley's purchase of a three-year-old commercial van, at a time he was receiving significant amounts of taxpayers' money in the form of social welfare payments, emerged at a hearing of Kenmare District Court last Friday week.
Mr Dooley was appearing before Judge James O'Connor on serious charges of deceiving an elderly man and his partner out of €78,800.
Mr Dooley, a 29-year-old father of one, had applied for free legal aid to pay for his court defence.
After hearing evidence of the weekly and monthly payments from the Department of Social Protection -- and the purchase of new transport -- Judge O'Connor remarked, with heavy irony, "It's a great little country."
Dooley was in court charged with allegedly inducing Michael Kay, of Derriknow, Gleninchaquin, Tuosist, near Kenmare, to issue six cheques to him totalling €74,300.
He is also charged with allegedly inducing Kathy Nolan of the same address, to issue him with two cheques totalling €4,500.
The alleged offences occurred sometime between January 1 and December 31, 2008, and were for tarmacadam work Dooley had carried out.
The work was carried out but was allegedly grossly overvalued by Dooley.
Garda John O'Regan gave evidence of arresting Dooley at New Road earlier this month.
Garda O Regan told the Court that the accused made no reply after he was charged and cautioned.
The prosecuting garda in the case, Supt Michael Maher, made an application to have Dooley remanded on bail until another court appearance in November which would allow time for a book of evidence to be prepared.
Following the application, the defence solicitor, Padraig O'Connell said his client's family had put up €500 in cash bail. He said his client had not worked since January 2009 and required legal aid.
"He does not have the funds to pay for a solicitor. He is a married man with one child. He has not worked since January of last year. He is unemployed and receives €320 per week for himself, his wife and child.
"He is in receipt of a social welfare subvention to pay for his house."
Patrick Dooley was then called to give evidence, under oath, about his means.
He told the judge that he had three accounts; in Bank of Ireland, AIB Bank and Killarney Credit Union.
However, there were no funds in any of his accounts.
His mortgage is paid up to date with the assistance of the Social Welfare contribution of €1,000 a month.
Stating that the defendant was costing the State approximately €570 per week, the judge referred to the help the defendant was receiving for his mortgage: "This is paid for by the taxpayer; €250 a week. You have a mortgage of €300,000 and the taxpayer pays for this. This is a great little country isn't it."
He added: "I fail to see why you can't be in the same boat as everyone else".
Mr O'Connell said his client would be evicted if he failed to meet mortgage repayments and that would result in a greater cost to the State.
He said that the local authority would have to provide housing for his client and his family and it was decided that (providing help with the mortgage) was the appropriate way to deal with the matter.
The defendant was remanded on continuing bail and is to appear before Kenmare District Court on November 5, where he is to present bank statements, dating back three years, on his two current bank accounts.