Man jetted in from Thailand to claim €250k welfare

A 63-YEAR-OLD man found to have 10 Irish and one British birth certificate, eight false British drivers’ licences and three passports has appeared in court charged with defrauding the Department of Social Protection of almost €250,000 over a four-year period.

Paul Murray, of no fixed abode but with an address in Thailand, travelled home from the Asian country every three months to sign on. He has had no permanent address in Ireland since 1974.

He used nine different names to claim welfare payments in Cavan, Trim and Mullingar. Following his arrest as he left the social welfare office in Cavan on October 19, Murray was interviewed and charged.

He replied to those sample charges: “I accept this.”

Garda Peter Kelly said the sample charges refer to three different identities and his bank accounts are currently being looked into.

During a preliminary hearing at Mullingar District Court, Garda Kelly objected to Murray getting bail.

Since 2006, he said Murray has claimed various payments, including disability allowance, jobseeker’s allowance and supplementary welfare allowance.

A search of his person and his vehicle uncovered the birth certificates, passports and drivers’ licences. Only one of the passports was in his own name.

Solicitor Redmond O’Regan applied for bail saying his client is not in the best of health.

Judge Aeneas McCarthy refused bail and ordered that Murray appear before Mullingar District Court again on November 4.

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