Taxi firm director believed he could claim social welfare

A social welfare inspector said he found it incredible that a director of a taxi company believed he was entitled to receive jobseeker’s allowance payments while running a company.

Taxi firm director believed he could claim social welfare

John Doherty, a director of Owenabue Cabs in Carrigaline, Co Cork, pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of claiming jobseeker’s allowance while working during Apr 2011 to Feb 2012. Defence solicitor Denise Kelleher said: “He is one of three people operating a co-op style business which they took over in 2011. He was 30 years in the defence forces before that. Difficult as it is to be believe, he genuinely believed there was an amnesty for 12 months once you finished work and you could continue to draw social welfare while working.”

Judge Olann Kelleher asked a prosecution witness, social welfare inspector Brian Kearney, what he thought of that. Mr Kearney replied: “It is incredible.”

Ms Kelleher said: “I appreciate in the cold light of day it is difficult to accept.”

Judge Kelleher said there was also an issue in relation to the charges — to which Doherty also pleaded guilty — of failing to give employee employment records following an inspector of the business by Mr Kearney and a representative of the National Transport Authority.

Ms Kelleher said Doherty had already paid Revenue a €4,000 fine and had repaid the €7,700 paid to him for jobseeker’s allowance.

Judge Kelleher dismissed the charges of failing to provide employment record information under the Probation of Offenders Act. He imposed a €1,250 fine on Doherty for claiming social welfare while working.

Related charges were taken into consideration at Cork District Court.

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