Mum who bought luxury cars loses social welfare
A JUDGE has thrown out a mother-of-three's appeal against a decision of the Criminal Assets Bureau to disallow her a single parent's allowance or a carer's allowance.
Circuit Court President Mr Justice Matthew Deery heard that Martina Dardis (30) had handled income and outgoings of €210,000 through her local credit union account over the last 13 years and had bought and sold several Lexus and BMW cars.
Judge Deery said that because of the passage of large amounts of money through her account and her dealings in cars in the higher price brackets, the court had to accept she had not made a full and frank disclosure of her means.
He dismissed her appeal against both decisions of the social welfare deciding officer attached to the bureau and refused her application for a legal aid recommendation under the Attorney General's scheme. He made no order against her personally for costs.
Judge Deery, in a reserved judgment, said the deciding officer of the bureau and a forensic accountant attached to the bureau, both of whom cannot be named for legal reasons, had set out lengthy disclosures of the monies from unknown sources that had passed through Dardis's bank accounts.
He accepted that the bureau officials had been correct in their assessment regarding the financial dealings of Dardis, of Patrick Heeney House, Summerhill, Dublin, and previously of Aldborough Court, North Strand, Dublin.
Judge Deery had heard that Dardis had banked more than €210,000 in a credit union account over the last 13 years and that she had failed to disclose credits and debits worth tens of thousands in her North William Street Parish Credit Union and in two other bank accounts. He also heard she had bought and traded in five cars including two top of the range Lexus cars and a BMW which, overall, would have cost her about €50,000. She said she had them on loan from relatives and friends
Dardis told the court a lot of the money she had lodged and withdrawn from accounts had included a compensation award of €36,000 to her partner, James McAuley, by the Residential Institution Redress Board and gifts from McAuley's late grandmother and her own late father.
She added that a lot of money taken from her bank accounts and a joint account had gone to buying drugs for her partner who had a drug problem.
According to a forensic accountant, there had been receipts and credits totalling €211,550 into her credit union account between 1998 and 2011 and payments out and debits of €197,630.