A former clerical officer at the Department of Social Protection in Letterkenny, Co Donegal will be sentenced on Friday on corruption charges after admitting to receiving payments from private investigators to whom he passed on information to assist them in locating people.

Rory Lenihan of Ballaghderg, Letterkenny pleaded guilty to 11 sample charges out of a total of 41.

Prosecuting Barrister Alex Owens told the court that the offences took place between January 2008 and October 2010 when Mr Lenihan was working in the Treatment Benefit section of what is now the Department of Social Protection.

The offences came to light when one of Mr Lenihan's superiors noticed suspicious activity by him at break times and began an investigation.

It emerged he was making searches on the department computer system which were unrelated to his work and the number of a private detective came up on the phone.

Mr Lenihan made some limited admissions at that point that he knew private investigator John Buckley of Buckley and Associates on the Navan Road in Dublin and that he had provided him with information on occasions and got money in return.

Mr Owens said that the payments in relation to the sample charges were in the region of €5,000 but the total sum involved was €21,898.

Detective Garda Peter Cullen said a number of repeated transactions were found going into Mr Lenihan's Ulster Bank account in Donegal town from a Mr Brian Foy of Dowling and Company, a private investigator in Leixlip and from Buckley and Associates, Navan Road Dublin.

He said that a number of files were uncovered in Mr Foy's office and that he would have faxed a query to Mr Lenihan about an individual and he would write the information on it and fax it back.

He said the private detectives appeared to be looking for the information for a number of reasons including following up on debts.

The court was told that neither Mr Foy nor Mr Buckley has been charged with any offence in relation to the case.

Barrister for Mr Lenihan, Peter Nolan told the court that his client was 50 today, a father of five, originally from Dublin.

At the time of the offences there were financial stresses and strains on him, he said.

His main motivation was financial gain but his actions were reckless - he did a very stupid, idiotic and selfish thing and put everything, his family, his reputation, on the line for a plan that was bound to fail.

Mr Nolan asked Judge John Aylmer to be as lenient as possible on Mr Lenihan who he said was genuinely remorseful, he is now a pariah, he said, the man who stole from the department and who got sacked, he has already been punished and continues to be punished and is fully aware of the breach of trust.

Judge Aylmer said he would need some time to consider the case and will sentence Mr Lenihan on Friday.