At Ennis District Court yesterday, married mother of five, Orla Considine, aged 37, pleaded guilty to two charges relating to falsifying the AIB statement in order to secure Leader funding from the Clare Local Development Co on June 7, 2013.
However, Judge Patrick Durcan struck out the charges after describing Ms Considine as a “modern patriot” when hearing that she has devoted her life to Clare camogie on a voluntary basis for the past 20 years.
In evidence, Det Garda Claire O’Shaughnessy said the Leader funding grant of €181,776 was withd- rawn when the Clare Local Development Co became aware that Ms Considine of Dangan, Tulla, had “constructed” the bank statement.
Det O’Shaughnessy said that Ms Considine did not stand to gain personally from the “constructed” bank statement.
She said: “The content of the document was not fictitious — it was the correct position in relation to the bank and Clare Camogie.”
Ms Considine was processing the grant application on behalf of Clare Camogie and Det O’Shaughnessy said that Ms Considine felt she could not get the proper document in time from the bank before the closing of the application deadline.
Solicitor for Ms Considine, John Casey, said:
“It is fair to say that she lives for camogie and in particular her Clare camogie. Ms Considine has worked for Clare camogie volunteering for more than 20 years.”
He said Ms Considine would be driven to get these monies for Clare Camogie.
After hearing the evidence, Judge Durcan said that he could not convict Ms Considine and struck out both charges.
Judge Durcan said one of most powerful engines we have in our democracy is volunteerism as he described Ms Considine as “a modern patriot”. He said there was no attempt by Ms Considine to personally gain from what occurred.
Judge Durcan said: “This lady did something that was not correct. I won’t even say it was wrong and it was done because of her over-enthusiasm.” The judge said the funding issue should be revisited with Leader.