Civil servant jailed for 12 months for selling information from Donegal Department

first_imgA civil servant who sold on the personal details of hundreds of people has been sentenced to one year in prison.Rory Lenihan received almost €22,000 over a three year period from private investigators while he was based at the Department of Social Protection in Letterkenny. Lenihan, aged 50 and originally from Dublin, had pleaded guilty to twelve sample charges of receiving payments for information.Details of how Lenihan, a clerical officer in the treatments benefits sections, stayed behind during his lunch break to access details and to make phonecalls were given earlier this week at Letterkenny Circuit Court.Judge John Aylmer adjourned sentence until today to consider the sentence.Addressing the court, the Judge said he considered Lenihan’s actions to bein the mid range for such offences.He said there was a significant breach of trust and privacy of all citizens information held by the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs where Lenihan had worked.He said this resulted in an undermining of public confidence and that Lenihan’s sole motivation was personal gain.He said he had no option but to impose a custodial sentence because of the gravity of the offences and the fact that they took place over a prolonged period of time.He added that there were a number of mitigating factors in the case including the fact that Lenihan had no previous convictions, the case had cost him his marriage, he had shown genuine remorse and the Probation Services had said there was a low risk of Lenihan reoffending.He had also lost his job, was now on social welfare and that there would be adverse publicity from the media’s coverage of the case.He sentenced Lenihan to two years on each of the 12 sample charges but suspended the final 12 months of each sentence and ordered all charges to run concurrently.Dressed in navy trousers and a navy top, Lenihan, who was accompanied to court by family and friends, closed his eyes as the sentence was delivered.The father of five, pleaded guilty to 12 sample charges ofstealing information from social welfare recipients and selling themto two private investigators.The court was told that this information including the location ofthose involved as well as their loans, etc were then passed on tovarious banks and solicitor’s offices.Senior counsel Alex Owens, representing the Director of PublicProsecutions, said that in total Lenihan was accused of 41 chargesamounting to a total theft of €21,898.In September 2010, Lenihan’s supervisor Paul Bradley became suspicious of his behaviour when he stayed at his desk and used the phone during his lunch-break.The computer system, known as Infosys, required a username and aspecial password for employees to log into.Mr Bradley informed his supervisor Des Kernan and an internalinvestigation was launched which included the checking of files whichLenihan was checking on as well as cross-referencing phone numberswhich he was calling.Mr Bradley and Kernan approached Lenihan and he admitted that he waspassing on information and receiving some payments in return.The extraction of material had lasted from January 2008 until October, 2010.In total Lenihan, whose address was given as Ballaghderg, Letterkenny,was paid €23 for information on each person, money which would be paidby credit in lump sums to his Ulster Bank account in Donegal Town.He was paid the money by two private investigators, a John Buckley,based on the Navan Road and a Brian Foy, which a business address inLeixlip.Detective Garda Peter Cullen said the investigation was a complex onewhich he had been working on for between three and four years.He said he was aware that from examining Lenihan’s bank records formthe time that he faced various financial difficulties.The accused man’s sister Maria gave evidence in the case regarding herbrother’s upbringing.He said the family had owned a shop in Dublin and that they were avery law-abiding family who had never been in trouble.She told how her family were standing beside their brother as he was agood man, who excelled at sport, was a good father and a good personwho had made a mistake.The court was told that Mr Lenihan had no previous convictions.Defence barrister Peter Nolan said this was a criminal act carried outby someone who wasn’t a criminal.He added that his client was the only one before the court despite thefact that two others were directly involved and the information hadbeen passed on to various financial institutions.“It seems to me that Mr Lenihan is the one carrying the can for theactions of two other people who were at least aiders and abetters. Hewould not have given the information if he was not called andfinancial inducement offered.“These two other gentlemen, for some reason best known to the DPP,were not. I hope they’re not rinigng some other poor unfortunate civilservant looking for information.“His friends, family and parents are devastated. He’s the man whostole and got sacked from his department and cannot be trusted. He isa pariah to a large extent.“Sometimes the doing of the crime far outweighs any punishment thatcan be given and he will be punished until the day he dies. I ask youto consider that and the impact the publicity will also have.“I will ask you to view him not as a criminal but as a man who hascommitted a stupid criminal act for what – for €21, 000? These werethe actions of a desperate man in financial straits. I don’t see whatit would be achieved in sending him to jail,” said Mr Nolan.Following his sentence, Lenihan chatted briefly with family and friends before being led away by prison officers.Civil servant jailed for 12 months for selling information from Donegal Department was last modified: January 27th, 2018 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Civil servantdonegaljailletterkennyRory Lenihanlast_img

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