Dublin man who falsely claimed €23,000 'trying to repay with legitimate welfare payments'

A Dublin man who falsely claimed more than €23,000 in jobseekers allowance is trying to pay back the stolen cash with his legitimate social welfare payments, a court has heard.

Michael Cawley (aged 37) was charged with 116 counts of stealing money from the Department of Social Protection. He made the false claims every week for about three years.

Cawley of Rivermeade Avenue, Swords pleaded guilty to six sample counts of stealing money from the Department at Malahide Post Office between February 20, 2009 and May 26, 2011.

Detective Garda Jonathan Hayes told John Fitzpatrick BL, prosecuting, that Cawley had claimed a total of €23,767 by using another man’s social welfare card and claiming to be that man.

Cathal McGreal BL, defending, said that after his arrest in July 2011 his client told gardaí he would pay all the money back and that so far he had brought €400 to court.

Counsel said that this was significant because “ironically” the money was coming out of his social welfare payments.

Mr McGreal said that Cawley, a father of four, owed money because of a previous cocaine addiction. He said he also had issues with alcohol addiction.

Judge Leonie Reynolds adjourned sentencing until next October and said that Cawley needed to make meaningful efforts to pay back the money due.

She said that he has no significant work history and there was no evidence to say he has addressed his issues with alcohol.

Det Gda Hayes said that after a report from the Department of Social Protection, gardaí searched Cawley’s home and found a social welfare card in the name of Thomas Mongan.

Cawley told gardaí he had met Mr Mongan at a wedding. He said Mr Mongan said he was going to the UK and Cawley began using his card to sign on after that.

The court heard that Cawley has 23 previous convictions, including one for falsely using an instrument, one for burglary, five for theft and a number of road traffic offences.

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