Sunday 20 October 2019

CEO faces trial over stealing €7,000 from top suicide charity

Declan Behan
Declan Behan
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

THE CEO of a leading suicide charity accused of stealing thousands of euro from the organisation over a three year period has been sent forward for trial.

Declan Behan (41) is alleged to have stolen more than €7,000 from the Irish Association of Suicidology at ATMs at locations around the country while he was Chief Executive Officer.

A total of 38 charges have been brought against him in relation to the thefts which are alleged to have happened over a period of nearly three years.

The DPP has directed trial by judge and jury in the Circuit Court where the penalties are potentially more severe.

The accused, of Boyne View, Slane, Co Meath, appeared before Dublin District Court charged with over 30 counts of theft on various dates between early 2010 and late 2012.

The offences, under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice (Theft & Fraud Offences) Act, relates to locations including ATMs on Grafton Street; O'Connell Street, Baggot Street, Shelbourne Road, Sandymount Road, Ranelagh, Ballsbridge, Cabra and Lusk in Dublin, as well as Dundalk, Cork, Castlebar, Drogheda, Enfield, Dunleer and Duleek.

State solicitor, John Ford, said the book of evidence was ready and had been served on the accused, who goes forward to the present sittings of Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge Victor Blake gave Behan the alibi caution, warning him he had 14 days to provide to the State details of anyone he proposed calling as a witness in his defence.

The court heard that Behan is not working. Defence solicitor Tracey Horan and one junior counsel were assigned on free legal aid.

Judge Blake remanded Behan on bail in his own bond of €250.

The judge also ordered that a video copy of an interview which gardai conducted with the accused be furnished to his legal team.

Behan's prosecution follows a garda investigation into financial irregularities at the charity.

The IAS was founded in 1996 by the late Dr Michael Kelleher, Dr Connolly, and Mr Neville to be a forum for all individuals and voluntary groups involved in suicidology to share their knowledge and experience of the issue.

The IAS also works with the Government and voluntary groups to develop and promote suicide prevention policies.

The association's current president is Fine Gael TD Dan Neville.

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