A 58-year-old man has pleaded guilty to fraud after he claimed pensions for his dead mother and father over a 33-year period, which amounted to a loss to the State of in excess of €500,000.

Donal O'Callaghan, of Churchfield Green in Cork city, first appeared before Cork District Court in September where he was charged with theft following a garda investigation.

When he was arraigned at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, O'Callaghan pleaded guilty to 73 sample counts dating back over three decades.

Sixty-eight counts relate to theft, while five refer to false documentation in support of the fraudulent claims.

The theft charges state that the accused man claimed pension payments in respect of his parents pretending they were still alive when in fact they were dead.

All of the theft offences occurred at Cork GPO on Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork with the forgery offences taking place at the office of the Department of Social Protection on Hanover Street in Cork.

The offences are contrary to Section 4 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences Act) 2001 and contrary to section 251 (1) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005.

The fraud occurred between 1987 and 2019.

O'Callaghan had signed signed pleas of guilty at district court level last month.

Judge Helen Boyle granted an application for the free legal aid certificate to be extended to allow for a senior
counsel to be retained for the defendant at his sentencing hearing next month.

The court heard that O'Callaghan suffers from a gambling addiction. A report has been ordered from a psychologist.

O'Callaghan was remanded on continuing bail until his next court appearance on 26 November.