Dáil Éireann - Volume 474 - 29 January, 1997

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Fraud.

44. Mr. M. Brennan asked the Minister for Social Welfare the number of prosecutions for social welfare fraud detected in 1996; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22290/96]

Minister for Social Welfare (Proinsias De Rossa): The detection of fraud and abuse of social welfare payments is an integral part of the day to day work of my Department, which has a programme of ongoing specialist control activities under way as part of its drive against fraud, abuse and unwarranted recourse to social welfare. Any case involving abuse of the system is scrutinised with a view to initiating legal proceedings. Prosecutions are taken against employers who fail to carry out their statutory obligations and persons who defraud the social welfare payments system.

A total of 98 cases in respect of offences under the Social Welfare Acts, 23 of which related to employers, were referred to the Chief State Solicitor's Office for legal proceedings in 1996. A total of 86 cases in respect of offences under the Social Welfare Acts, 30 of which related to employers, were finalised by the courts in 1996. Convictions were obtained in 75 of these cases, 28 of which related to employers.