A travel agent who set up a charity that sent terminally-ill children to Lapland has been given a suspended sentence for stealing more than €18,000 from the organisation.
John 'Con' Murphy (66) received the non-custodial sentence despite Judge Patrick McCartan expressing concerns that he was involved with a new charity he set up called the Make it Happen Foundation.
The judge suspended a three-year sentence yesterday after hearing Murphy's family had raised the full amount to compensate for the theft.
The Children to Lapland App- eal has since gone into liquidation. The money will now be split between Crumlin Children's Hospital and Barretstown camp for children, "a charity that is dear to my heart and close to where I reside", the judge said.
Murphy, of Church Road, Killiney, was convicted at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after a two-day trial and 42 minutes of jury deliberation. He pleaded not guilty to four counts of theft totalling €18,643.
Judge McCartan said he had "very grave misgivings about this behaviour".
He said it appeared Murphy had wound down one charity and started up another and the concern was he was up to the same thing.
The judge banned Murphy from fundraising for three years as part of the terms of his sentence.