Galway man running bogus suicide awareness charity collection in Cork jailed for six months

Galway man running bogus suicide awareness charity collection in Cork jailed for six months
Picture Dan Linehan

PEOPLE who contributed to a street collector carrying out a collection for ‘Suicide Aware’ in Cork were being conned out of their money by a Galway man who was jailed for six months yesterday.

Judge Olann Kelleher said, “I have to say this is a very mean fraud on the people of Cork or wherever he carries out a collection like this.

“We are all aware of the number of families affected by suicide.

“I have to take into consideration that people contribute to these appeals and it is terrible to see them let down like this.” The judge imposed a six-month jail term on the accused.

Francis Sweeney, 49, of 19 Liam Mellows Terrace, Bohermore, Galway, came to the attention of Garda Mark O’Connor in relation to the bogus collection in July 2018.

He pleaded guilty at Cork District Court yesterday to a charge that on July 14, 2018, at Lapp’s Quay, while carryout out a collection he failed to provide Garda Mark O’Connor with a collection permit, and a related charge.

Sergeant Gearóid Davis outlined the background to the offence. The man was seen on Lapp’s Quay, Cork, carrying out a collection on that date. The accused man had the property he was carrying at the time seized from him. This included three collection forms with names written on lines. The forms carried the charity name, Suicide Aware. He had just over €70 in cash that he had collected.

When asked for a permit he handed over a document with someone else’s name on it. It was established that this was not his name. The defendant later gave his name correctly as Francis Sweeney.

While the accused had two theft-related convictions and one for handling stolen property he had none for anything similar to carrying out the bogus collection.

Frank Buttimer said of Sweeney, “He is from Galway. He had no particular business in Cork – he just came down to get away from a particular drinking environment he was in Galway.” The judge imposed a six-month jail term. It will run concurrently with a longer unrelated sentence Sweeney is serving.

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