Soldier under investigation over €30,000 spend claim
THE Defence Forces has confirmed that a soldier has been investigated for allegedly spending €30,000 on luxury hotel accommodation, meals and entertainment while stationed overseas.
The huge expenses bill was run up while he was based overseas and came to light during a routine audit.
The soldier has reportedly since paid back the money; however, he could still face a court-martial over the lavish spending.
A Defence Forces spokesman confirmed that an investigation had been carried out and said no decision had yet been made on whether the soldier would face charges.
"Military police have completed an investigation into allegations and a file has been prepared for the Director of Military Prosecutions," he said.
It is expected to be some months before the man will learn if he faces a court-martial.
He had been authorised to use army funds to make certain purchases.
However, an investigation into his spending was ordered after suspicions were raised that he was using the funds to make non-military purchases.
A file has been passed to the Director of Military Prosecutions, Col John Spierin, who will decide whether or not the soldier should be charged with an offence.
A court-martial is the military equivalent of a civilian court. About 50 courts-martial take place each year within the Defence Forces, most of them for relatively minor offences. Military judges are appointed by the President and must hold a rank not less than colonel.
Courts-martial are open to the public, although in certain cases, such as those involving serious sexual offences, the military judge may make an order that the public are to be excluded. Soldiers who are found guilty of an offence can appeal their conviction or sentence to the Courts Martial Appeal Court.
Courts martial for less serious cases are held at barracks around the country, but those dealing with serious offences are held at McKee Barracks in Dublin. The accused person may be represented by a civilian lawyer or by a commissioned officer of the Defence Forces and can apply for legal aid.