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Civil servant claimed €147k in pay fraud

A civil servant who defrauded €147,000 from the Department of Social and Family Affairs by claiming overtime he was not entitled to has been remanded on bail pending sentence.

Donal McBride (57) had been a higher executive officer for ten years and had been with the department for 37 years when the fraud came to light.

He retired with a pension and has been paying 25pc of that back to the department in order to make full restitution.

McBride, of Cluain Dara, Easton Road, Leixlip, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four charges of deception at Con Colbert House, Con Colbert Road, on dates between August 26, 2001 and April 6, 2007.

Fergal Foley, prosecuting, told the court that the charges represented a sample of 59 counts over a period of December 2, 2001 to October 12, 2008.

Detective Garda Peter Clifford said that the department had conducted an internal audit and discovered that McBride was the highest recipient of overtime.

It was discovered that McBride had forged overtime claim forms.

He had added his name to a list of employees entitled to overtime after a senior official had signed the form to approve payment to the other staff.

McBride still owes over €23,000 and is making monthly payments by deductions from his pension. He will have made full restitution by the end of 2014.

Det Gda Clifford agreed with Raymond Farrell, defending, that McBride had told gardai in interview that he had been suffering from depression and was an alcoholic.

Mr Farrell said his client was a separated man with three children. He said he began to drink quite heavily in 1996 .

Judge Yvonne Murphy adjourned sentencing of what she described as "a serious matter" to May.

hnews@herald.ie