A GAA star has been given a suspended sentence for stealing over €28,000 from a barrister to use for online shopping.
Dinah Loughlin, aged 30, stole the money over a five-year period as she was working as a legal secretary for Marguerite Bolger, a senior counsel specialising in employment law.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that, during the period, Loughlin undertook transcription work for other barristers. However, she then used Ms Bolger’s account to pay a stenography service to complete the work.
Other purchases included online buys at Asos, River Island, and Amazon. She also spent hundreds of euro on One4All gift cards from an office supply website.
Loughlin, who plays camogie for Westmeath, has since repaid her ex-employer with money she and her partner were saving for a wedding. She also sold her car.
Loughlin, of Kilbeggan, Westmeath, pleaded guilty to 20 sample counts of theft at the Law Library, Dublin, between 2009 and 2014.
The court heard Ms Bolger has taken a “very benevolent view” of the offending. The barrister only reported the matter to gardaí for professional reasons and to ensure it never happened again, said Anne Rowland, prosecuting.
Judge Melanie Greally said Loughlin had breached the “absolute and implicit” trust of her employer even though she didn’t seem to be under financial pressures at the time. In mitigation, the judge noted Loughlin’s previous good character and her repayment of the money.
Judge Greally said Loughlin was “perilously close” to going to jail. She imposed a two-year sentence, suspended for two years.
Oisin Clarke, defending, said Loughlin suffered great stress when the theft was uncovered. He said she always knew she was going to get caught.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved