A garda falsely claimed weekend and other allowances to which he was not entitled when he took over temporary responsibility for completing payslips at a district headquarters, it has been alleged.
Garda Ciaran Folan has gone on trial at Limerck Circuit Court charged with the theft of money from the justice minister when stationed in Clifden, Co Galway.
Garda Folan, aged 44, of Fethard-on-Sea, Co Wexford, has pleaded not guilty to five charge involving a total of €3,310.27.
The charges relate to dates between September 2007 and January 2008 and five sums of €478.90, €954.79, €1,056.64, €462.16, and €357.78.
John O’Sullivan, prosecuting, opening the case to a jury of eight women and four men, said it was alleged the accused procured overtime and weekend payments to which he was not entitled and did this when he was filling in on a temporary basis as finance officer in the Clifden Garda district..
Mr O’Suillivan described it as a somewhat unfortunate case involving a member of the garda who is accused of theft from his employer, the minister for justice. While the sums involved in the charges were not terribly big by today’s standards, he said it was a serious matter.
Mr O’Sullivan said the finance officer at Clifden Garda Station, Julianne Gill, went on maternity leave in June 2007 and Garda Folan took over her duties on a temporary basis.
Because Garda Folan took on this particular duty, he was not rostered for work on Saturdays, Sundays or bank holidays.
Hence, he said, Garda Folan was not entitled to claim any weekend or bank holiday overtime allowances.
As finance officer, Garda Folan processed pay including his own and this involved filling out various forms.
These forms were given to the superintendent in Clifden who forwarded them to the Department of Justice.
Mr O’Sullivan said: “It is claimed in this case the accused procured payments to which he was not entitled and claimed for night duty overtime and weekend payments. Payment slips which were generated for the accused man, meant he got payment for work he did not do and it is the State’s case he managed do do that because he was responsible for compiling the relevant documents.”
Following Mr O’Sullivan’s opening address to the jury, the trial went into legal argument.
The trial before Judge Tom O’Donnell is expected to go into next week.
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