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Principal spent school's food grant on golf trips

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The court heard that the school principal would spend the grant money on weekend breaks in London, Dublin and Galway, golfing trips to Spain and to pay his mortgage and household bills

The court heard that the school principal would spend the grant money on weekend breaks in London, Dublin and Galway, golfing trips to Spain and to pay his mortgage and household bills

The court heard that the school principal would spend the grant money on weekend breaks in London, Dublin and Galway, golfing trips to Spain and to pay his mortgage and household bills

A school principal cancelled a school's meal programme so he could defraud the Government out of more than €200,000, which he spent on lavish weekend breaks and expensive golf equipment, a court has heard.

Finbarr Boyle - also know by his Irish name Fionbar O Baoill - spent more than €66,000 of the money using a school credit card, Sgt Michael Fitzpatrick told Cavan Circuit Criminal Court.

Boyle, (35), of Annalee Manor, Ballyhaise, Co Cavan, and originally from Ardara, Co Donegal, pleaded guilty to seven sample counts of theft and forgery amounting to more than €77,000.

However, the guilty pleas were being accepted on the basis of full facts and the full fraud over four years involving €204,118, prosecution barrister Monica Lawlor told Judge John Aylmer.

Sgt Fitzpatrick said that Boyle had been principal of St Patrick's National School in Kilnaleck, Co Cavan, from 2005.

In October 2008, an outside catering company, Sharpmount Limited, had been called by Boyle to say they were ending the practice of providing food twice a day to the children at the school.

"He told the provider that the grant money was being stopped," said Sgt Fitzpatrick.

However the grant hadn't been stopped.

Instead, the court heard, Boyle had continued to get the grant from the Department of Social Protection and hid the money away in secret accounts.

He would spend the cash on weekend breaks in London, Dublin and Galway, golfing trips to Spain and to pay his mortgage and household bills.

Sgt Fitzpatrick began his two-year investigation into the fraud after a new treasurer was appointed to the Board of Management at the school and began questioning school spending.

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