Fmr principal charged with fraud overstated pupil numbers, court told

A former principal at a national school in Co Longford has been charged with fraud in relation to overstating the number of pupils in her school to obtain grants and funding for additional teaching posts.

Helen O’Gorman, of Newtown Lawns, Mullingar, appeared at Longford District Courtthis morning - writes rte.ie

Sergeant Tom Quinn gave evidence of arresting her on Wednesday in Mullingar.

He told the court she made no reply when cautioned and the charges were put to her.

Sgt Quinn told Judge Seamus Hughes the background to the case was that Ms O’Gorman was the former principal at St Mary’s National School in Edgeworthstown and she had been overstating pupil numbers by a large amount for a number of years.

This led to extra teaching posts and grants to the school and the over-payment involved from the Department of Education was €450,000, he said.

Ms O’Gorman’s solicitor, Frank Gearty, told the judge that there was no personal gain by his client.

Judge Hughes asked if there had been any external inspector checking the roll and was told that there had not been an inspection at the school for a number of years.

Ms O’Gorman is facing six charges under the Theft and Fraud Offences Act.

Two charges relate to the period between 1 September 2012 to 30 June 2013, when she is alleged to have dishonestly obtained funding for additional teaching posts and grant aid for 94 pupils who did not exist so that the school would acquire the services of a greater number of teachers and grant aid than it was entitled to.

Two charges relate to the period 1 January 2014 to 30 June 2014 when she allegedly overstated pupil numbers by 95, and two charges are related to overstating pupil numbers by 94 in 2015.

The book of evidence was served on Ms O’Gorman, who is 57, and she was remanded on bail of €100 and returned for trial on indictment to the next session of Longford Circuit Court.

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