A former Limerick criminal who spent almost €100,000 on foreign holidays, cars and a security system for his family's home, has appealed a decision by The Department of Social Welfare to refuse him a disability allowance.
Anthony Kelly - a brother of the late Limerick Alderman and self-confessed criminal Michael Kelly - claims he is entitled to the allowance of €165 a week, despite having netted more than €118,000 profit from the sale of a house in Co Limerick two years ago.
The 46-year-old, who has had five foreign holidays in the past two years, suffers from a disability which he sustained after he was injured in a number of shooting incidents.
Limerick Circuit Court heard yesterday that these incidents included "knee caps being shot off" and four bullets entering Mr Kelly's body.
The attacks were connected to a long-running dispute between Mr Kelly's family and another Limerick family, but these difficulties have since been resolved.
The Department of Social Welfare, the court heard, accepted Mr Kelly's disability, but argued that he was not entitled to an allowance because of the €118, 956 he earned from the sale of his house in Fedamore, Co Limerick, and the manner in which he had spent it.
Judge Harvey Kenny was told that the Mr Kelly, who only returned from Spain last Saturday, spent €28,000 on a two-week holiday in Lanzarote for his family in July 2004, so they could mourn his brother Michael who died a month previously.
Anthony Kelly told the court that his family could not grieve his brother in Limerick because "they were under siege".
Michael Kelly died in June 2004, four weeks after he suffered a mystery gunshot wound to his head.
His family has continued to deny that the gunshot wound was self-inflicted and claim he was shot by a lone gunman. No one has been charged in relation to his death.
Anthony Kelly orchestrated the exhumation of his brother's body, shortly after he was buried, to dispel certain media reports which suggested that a gun had been buried in his brother's coffin.
Limerick Circuit Court heard yesterday that Anthony Kelly withdrew €28,000 on the day he went on the two-week holiday to Lanzarote with 19 members of his family.
The father of six, the court heard, withdrew a further €90,000 in cash three weeks later.
When called to the witness box yesterday, Mr Kelly denied that he had purchased a property in Spain, and said he spent €25,000 on a camper van for his family, €17,000 on two cars for his children and a further €10,000 on a security system for his partner's house in Southill.
The system, he explained, consists of nine cameras and a 24-hour recording system which he added had recorded one incident when he was shot.
He also spent a further €7,000 on bullet-proof windows for the same house, the court heard.
When called to give evidence, an officer with the Criminal Assets Bureau attached to the Department of Social Welfare said Mr Kelly had not co-operated with a department inspector when he was asked to explain what he had done with €20,000 which was left over from the profits he earned after the sale of the house.
"His failure to co-operate meant the Department couldn't assess his means, which meant his application was disallowed," explained the witness.
Defence counsel Andrew Sexton (BL), argued that Mr Kelly would have needed at least this €20,000 for living expenses as he was not working, and pointed out that receipts for his other purchases had been presented to the court.
Judge Harvey Kenny described Mr Kelly as a "very generous man, for a man with no money".
The case was adjourned until May 16 next. However, counsel for the state Mark Nicholas told the court that there "might be developments" in the interim which could lead to the appeal being withdrawn.