Gardai are investigating allegations that a substantial amount of money, believed to be a six figure sum, has gone missing from a Community Enterprise (CE) scheme in Dunboyne.
A discrepancy was first noticed in late 2020 and Garda inquiries began around Christmas last year.
A spokesperson for the Dunboyne Area Community Employment Company, the limited company and registered charity, which oversees the scheme on behalf of the Department of Social Employment, told Meath Live, ‘A Garda investigation is in place and on advice from them we will be making no comment whatsoever on it.’
They would not confirm whether or not the scheme is still in operation.
There is no suggestion that any member of that group has acted improperly in any way.
One source told us, ‘The board of directors overseeing the scheme are all decent honest people and acted in the correct manner as soon as a problem arose, they are directors in name only and would have no day to day involvement in the running of things.
‘The initial fear was that the amount involved was €80k but now the concern is it could be substantially more, certainly over six figures possibly in and around €130k
‘It is understood some of the money may have been taken from a number of different ATMs around the area.
‘The first any of the workers, who were being employed in various community schemes around Dunboyne, Ratoath and Batterstown, knew about it was when they were all let go at Christmas but it appears to have been ongoing for close to two years ‘.
A Garda spokesman confirmed. ‘An Garda Síochána in Ashbourne are currently investigating alleged misappropriation of funds from a company in Co. Meath.
‘As this is an active investigation An Garda Síochána has no further comment’.
A spokesman for the Department Of Social Protection said, ‘The Department of Social Protection received formal notification of the closure of Dunboyne Area Community Employment on Monday, 1 February 2021. The Department is aware that this matter is under investigation by An Garda Síochána and so will not be commenting further.
‘In the interim period, the Department mobilised to ensure that appropriate income supports were put in place for the 25 CE participants affected. The Department has continued to assist these individuals in identifying alternative job opportunities, including ones similar to their former CE placements where possible, mindful of the ongoing Level-5 restrictions’.