Town official charged over expenses

A former Fianna Fáil councillor has been charged with deception in relation to the claiming of conference expenses.

Pat Melia, 51, a member of Macroom Town Council in Co Cork, appeared in court yesterday charged with making gain or causing loss by deception on dates between April 13 and April 27.

Macroom District Court was told Mr Melia, with an address of 19 Ard na Greine, Macroom, Co Cork, made no reply when charged.

Inspector Gerry Lacey outlined the facts in the case.

He said Mr Melia went to a conference at the Galway Bay Hotel between April 13 and 15.

He said it was alleged that Mr Melia registered for the conference but did not attend it, and that he returned to Macroom Town Council and subsequently submitted claims for expenses to cover mileage and subsistence for two overnight stays.

The total amount involved was in the order of €250, said Insp Lacey.

He told Judge Aeneas McCarthy that the DPP has directed a summary disposal of the matter.

Mr Melia’s solicitor, Sean Cahill, said he has received a large number of statements and exhibits that need to be considered, and applied for the matter to be put back a month.

The State had no objection and Mr Cahill applied for and was granted free legal aid after a statement of means was submitted.

Judge McCarthy accepted jurisdiction in relation to the matter and he remanded Mr Melia on continuing bail to appear again before Macroom District Court on Jan 16.

Mr Melia sat at the back of the courtroom for the brief hearing and did not speak. He left immediately afterwards.

From Monasterevin in Co Kildare, Mr Melia was elected to Macroom Town Council in June 2009.

He was a member of the Fianna Fáil party at the time of the alleged offence. He resigned from the party during the summer.

Mr Melia operates the mymacroom.ie website and the Macroom Person of the Year Awards.

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