Rossport Five member used fraud to get dole benefits
A MAN who was jailed last year because of his opposition to the Corrib gas pipeline in Co Mayo has pleaded guilty to fraudulently claiming social welfare allowances.
Philip McGrath (46), of Rossport South, Ballina, used a PPS number belonging to his brother Martin to claim unemployment benefits on a number of dates between 2002 and 2004.
The total amount claimed was €7,664.57, said Anthony Gavin, an inspector with the Department of Social and Family Affairs' special investigation unit, based in Ballina.
Insp Gavin was speaking in the Belmullet District Court.
The accused had obtained the money while working on a number of construction sites in Galway and Mayo. He was one of the Rossport Five who were jailed last year for refusing to stop blocking the Corrib pipeline. Representing McGrath, Alan Gannon told the court that McGrath was a farmer "of very small means" who had suffered depression from the year 2000 onwards, and was medically treated for the condition.
Mr Gannon said his client had used the social welfare money to pay for a vital gall bladder operation for his wife and could not afford to pay the money back.
Judge Mary Devins fined the defendant €2,250 and ordered to him to pay €500 towards costs.