Friday 15 December 2017

'Out of sight, out of mind' - Irish mum received €15k in children's allowance while working in Australia

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Tom Tuite

A mother has pleaded guilty to unlawfully receiving €15,000 children's allowance payments while she working for Microsoft in Australia for three years.

Clodagh Logue (42) with an address at Granville Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty in a prosecution brought by the Department of Social Protection.

The offence, which is under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, can result in a fine of up to €2,500 and or a six-month sentence.

Judge John O'Neill heard at Dublin District Court that she received €15,618 but has been making repayments. The court heard she still owes €8,848.

She had been working for Microsoft in Ireland but was moved by her employer to work in their operation in Sydney Australia. She was there for three years while she was still claiming child benefit, the court was told.

Judge O'Neill heard that she has been working in Australia from July 2011 until August 2014. Her solicitor told the court the money was paid into her account in Dublin and it was “out of sight, out of mind”. She came back just once in the three years.

Her solicitor told the court that when she returned she engaged immediately with the Department of Social Protection and is paying the money back. The defence asked for a six-month adjournment to allow her time to discharge the full amount owed.

Judge O'Neill said that in light of the substantial payments already made the application for an adjournment was reasonable.

The case resumes in October. Judge O'Neill said that if the full amount is cleared it would be to her benefit.

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