Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a sentence of two years, with the final 18 months suspended. The judge said that was as far as he could go in suspending the sentence and he could not be any more lenient in the circumstances.
The judge said that the accused had gone about getting her entitlements and could not be faulted for welfare obtained legitimately but he said that the particularly Irish sense of entitlement had come across very strongly in the way she tried to defend the case.
“She had a very Irish attitude to her entitlement to this money,” he said.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said it was a paper-thin defence and the jury had seen through it.
“This was a deliberate crime by a competent, intelligent woman,” he said .
Defence senior counsel James O’Mahony said remorse had since been expressed by the accused, Lydie Kana. He said she had not been able to work in Ireland as a nurse but that she would try to adapt her nursing training in Ireland so that she could work here in the future.
Lydie Kana, aged 39, of 16 Copperhill, Ballintemple, Cork, had denied the social welfare fraud. A jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on 18 of the 20 sample charges against her.