Former councillor stole €200,000 from Kildare housing association

Mark Dalton forged Fianna Fail TD Seán Ó Fearghail’s signature on cheques

Mark Dalton was a Kildare county councillor from 2004 until  2009.

Mark Dalton was a Kildare county councillor from 2004 until 2009.

 

A former county councillor, who forged Fianna Fail TD Seán Ó Fearghail’s signature on cheques, has admitted stealing more than €200,000 from a Kildare voluntary housing association.

Naas Circuit Court heard Mark Dalton (52), from Athy, took €202,066 from the Cill Urnaí housing association, of which he was a director.

Dalton pleaded guilty to 14 counts of theft and 14 counts of forgery between May 2009 and August 2014.

As part of his role, Dalton was tasked with paying third party contractors who carried out maintenance of properties the association managed. Both Dalton and Mr Ó Fearghail, who is the current Dáil ceann comhairle, were entitled to sign cheques on behalf of the association.

Dalton, a former member of Athy Town Council and Kildare County Council, wrote 282 cheques to himself, on which he forged Mr Ó Fearghail’s signature, and lodged them in his bank account. Dalton was previously employed by Mr Ó Fearghail as his parliamentary assistant.

Judge Martina Baxter was told the issue was first spotted by the manager of AIB in Athy in September 2014.

Detective Garda John Butler told the court he interviewed Dalton and he admitted the thefts and said he had a gambling addiction. The court heard none of the money has been repaid.

Dalton, who has no previous convictions, was remanded in custody to appear at Dundalk Circuit Court on May 2nd for sentencing.

Dalton was a Kildare county councillor from 2004 until he lost his seat in the 2009 local elections. He was re-elected to Kildare County Council in 2014, just months before news of the Garda investigation into his actions came to light. Dalton had also been a member of Athy Town Council up to its abolition in 2014.

He resigned from Fianna Fáil in October 2014