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Gardaí on hunt to find dole cheats

20 gardaí will begin investigating social welfare fraud across the country.

Image: Shutterstock/lorenzo gambaro

TWENTY GUARDS HAVE joined the Department of Social Protection’s Fraud Investigation Unit.

The pilot scheme of deployment has been agreed by Tánaiste and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton, Garda Commissioner Nórín O’Sullvian and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

The gardaí will be based in Dublin (eight), Dundalk (two), Letterkenny (one), Monaghan (one), Longford (two), Galway (one), Cork (two), Limerick (one), Navan (one) and Sligo (one).

The primary function of the gardaí assigned to the Special Investigation Unit will be to investigate allegations and initiate investigations into social welfare fraud. They will be deployed for at least one year.

In serious cases of identity fraud or multiple claiming of allowances the 20 gardaí will be actively involved in detection and prosecution. They may also assist the Department in its investigations at ports and airports.

The fraud unit has generated fraud and control savings of €64.5 million so far this year, of which €23 million is recoverable overpayments.

Making no apologies

Burton said that said that she would “make no apologies for tackling fraud and abuse in the system” in order to ensure “the State’s limited resources … go to those most in need”.

“The vast majority of welfare customers receive only the payment to which they are entitled,” the Tánaiste stated.

Joan Burton and Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan announce 20 Gardaí to work with the Dept of Social Protection_001 Nóirín O'Sullivan and Joan Burton pictured today. Source: Mac Innes Photography

O’Sullivan said the initiative”will help combat social welfare fraud, and highlights the skills, knowledge and experience Gardaí bring to tackling such issues”.

“It also demonstrates how An Garda Síochána works in close co-operation with other State agencies for the benefit of the country and its people,” she added.

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Órla Ryan

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