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24/10/2021

Former Longford school principal accused of €450k Department of Education fraud

Ex St Mary's NS principal to stand trial in May

A former Co Longford primary school principal is to stand trial accused of fraudulently deceiving the Department of Education of €450,000.

Helen O’Gorman, with an address at 174 Newtown Lawns, Mullingar, Co Westmeath appeared at a sitting of Longford District Court this morning.

Ms O’Gorman, who had previously served as the principal of St Mary’s National School in Edgeworthstown, is charged with six counts of falsely attesting to the number of pupils at the school in order to acquire the services of a greater number of teachers and grant aid than the school was entitled to.

All the charges, which run in accordance with Section 7 of the Criminal Justice Act, are contained in a Book of Evidence that were served on Ms O’Gorman.

The former school principal was issued with an alibi warning by Judge Seamus Hughes, meaning Ms O’Gorman must provide the State within 14 days details of an alibi she intends to rely on in her defence.

Sgt Tom Quinn gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution.

When he outlined the facts, Judge Hughes asked why there had been no inspections carried out at the school.

Sgt Quinn replied, saying there hadn’t been an inspection carried out at St Mary’s National School for years.

Frank Gearty, defending, on behalf of Luie Kiernan, said it was imperative to state that there was no personal gain obtained from the charges before the court.

Ms O’Gorman was granted bail and returned for trial to the next sitting of Longford Circuit Court on May 31 2018.

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