A DUBLIN road engineer who rented an apartment for use as a brothel to help pay off property loans has been given a suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay over €10,000 to charity.
Thomas Lyons (56) told gardai he had initially rented the apartment so he could live there with his Brazilian girlfriend, who was involved in the escort industry but whom he had met socially.
When they split up he advertised the property for €700-per-week on an Irish escort website to help pay mortgages on three properties and to support his wife and children.
Garda Sheila White said Lyons also claimed he had been financially assisting his then girlfriend so she could leave the escort industry.
Lyons, a father-of-two of The Warren, Malahide Road, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to permitting an apartment at Burnell Court, Northern Cross, Malahide Road, to be used as a brothel between February 22 and June 22, 2011.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring suspended a sentence of two-and-a-half years on condition that he engage with offence and victim focused work. She also ordered that he pay €10,000 over to Ruhama, an organisation which "deals with the damage done by prostitution".
Gda White told the prosecution that she and colleagues set up surveillance after residents complained to the property manager about males coming and going from the apartment.
Gardai got a search warrant and on June 22, they saw an African woman and Eastern European woman enter the premises. Lyons arrived later that day and answered the door to the search team.
He made full admissions during interview and said he had been an engineer for 18 years but was now on a three-day working week. He said he got about €3,000-a-month take home pay and some rental income on other properties, including one in Lanzarote.
Gda White agreed with the defence that his client also had €2,240 in loan repayments per month.
She further agreed that Lyons had co-operated fully and had not trafficked the women or acted as a pimp.