Monday 18 December 2017

Clerical officer who was paid €12,500 to process passports for foreign nationals jailed

Barry Kindregan Pic: Courtpix
Barry Kindregan Pic: Courtpix

Sonya McLean

A clerical officer who was paid €12,500 to process five passports for foreign nationals who were not entitled to them has been jailed for two years.

Barry Kindregan (36) also organised passports for two other people but never received the agreed payment for them.

Kindregan of Downside Heights, Skerries, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four sample charges including, possession of a false passport and three charges of corruptly agreeing to accept a sum of money in cash as a reward for providing a passport on dates between August 1, 2012 and July 2013. He has no previous convictions.

He had been working as an officer in the passport office since 2007 when a colleague approached him in August 2012 and sought advice “for people in South Africa who wanted to get Irish passports”.

Kindregan said they would have to look for a foreign birth registration but the colleague spoke to him again some time later and admitted the people in question wouldn't be entitled to such registration. She asked him if he would be interested in producing passports for them for cash.

Kindregan later told gardaí in interview that he considered the proposal for a few days before he agreed to process the applications. He ultimately delivered seven completed passports for South African, Vietnamese, American and Moldovan nationals, back to his colleague.

Judge Melanie Greally today noted that Kindregan had come from an excellent family and had expressed genuine remorse, but said she had to balance this against the serious nature of the offence.

She said Kindregan had been in a position of trust and he hadn't carried out any enquiries about the intended recipients of the passports, so she had to impose a custodial sentence.

The court heard that Kindregan admitted he only checked supporting documentation to make sure the name was spelled properly and acknowledged that he knew the applicants weren't entitled to Irish passports.

Detective Garda Joanne O'Sullivan told Cathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting, that an agreement had been reached between Kindregan and his colleague that he would get €1,250 at the start of the application for the passport and a final €1,250 when it was completed.

She agreed that he never received the payment for the first two passports and he contacted gardaí himself, following his arrest for the first two passports, to admit that he had processed a further five.

Det Gda O'Sullivan agreed with Ronan Kennedy BL, defending, that his client was “not the prime mover” in the operation and was used to facilitate another person. She said she believed he was manipulated and deliberately targeted because of his known IT skills.

Det Gda O'Sullivan accepted that Kindregan co-operated fully with the garda investigation, was genuinely remorseful and was unlikely to come to garda attention in the future. She agreed that he lost his job in the passport office but had since secured new employment.

Mr Kennedy told Judge Greally that his client wanted to apologise from the bottom of his heart and it was a gross understatement to say he was deeply ashamed of himself.

“He let down the State, who provided him with a good position, his work colleagues, whom he respected and liked in the office and his family”.

“There isn't a day goes by that he doesn't regret his actions. No matter what penalty the court imposes this is something he has to live with for the rest of his days,” Mr Kennedy said.

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