Investigation over pensioner's missing money

A home-care worker in the north Longford area is at the centre of an investigation amid allegations tens of thousands of euro went missing from the bank account of an old age pensioner, the Leader can reveal.

A home-care worker in the north Longford area is at the centre of an investigation amid allegations tens of thousands of euro went missing from the bank account of an old age pensioner, the Leader can reveal.

Senior Garda officials told this newspaper a complaint was received from a member of the public in late October, prompting detectives to carry out further inquiries.

It's understood the amount of money involved could amount to tens of thousands of euro although so far no charges have been brought against the individual.

Commenting on the investigation this week, a Garda spokesperson said it was likely the results of the investigation would be passed on to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to determine whether any official charges can be brought in the case.

"We did receive a complaint in late October in relation to allegations of that nature," said the spokesperson. "An investigation has been carried out and a file will be sent to the DPP."

News of the investigation comes less than two months after an undercover investigation uncovered a litany of abuse carried out by private home care operators on elderly people.

In December, RTE's 'Prime Time' investigates programme showed how companies were hiring workers with no training, no garda vetting and little or no checking of references.

Private home-care companies are either hired directly by the older person, or are paid by the Health Service Executive (HSE) under the Home Care Support Scheme, to provide a variety of supports and services to people in their own homes.

It's not known which home-care provider the worker under investigation in Longford was contracted to at the time of the inquiry or whether they were linked to a company employed by the HSE.

Yesterday (Tuesday), health officials were refusing to comment, stressing any allegations made to it by members of the public would be dealt with in the appropriate manner.

"The HSE takes all complaints seriously and investigates them appropriately. The HSE does not comment on any individual case or complaints, in order to ensure due process for all concerned," said a statement on Tuesday afternoon.