A former social worker with the child and family agency Tusla has been jailed for a year after pleading guilty to possession of more than 2,000 images and 14 video files of child abuse.
Denis O'Donovan, with an address at Forest Ridge, Doughcloyne, Togher in Cork, was given a three-year sentence with two years suspended at the Circuit Criminal Court in Cork.
Imposing the sentence, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said the images accessed by O'Donovan were vile and in his possession for a significant period of time.
O'Donovan worked for a number of years as a social worker with the child and family agency Tusla. His work brought him into contact with children, the court heard.
He pleaded guilty to possession of 2,350 images and 14 video files of child pornography.
All of the videos and hundreds of the images were of the most serious "category one" nature, which Judge Ó Donnabháin described as vile.
There was a significant international dimension to the investigation, which led to O'Donovan's apprehension.
Canadian authorities made contact with the National Child Exploitation Co-ordination Centre based at Harcourt Square in Dublin and identified O'Donovan's address.
A team from the Garda Child Protective Services Unit in Cork executed a search warrant at O'Donovan's home.
He initially claimed the images were part of his work, as part of an anti-child pornography group. But Judge Ó Donnabháin said this was dismissed as "guff".
He imposed the sentence, beginning today, giving O'Donovan credit for steps he has taken since his apprehension.
In a statement this evening, Tusla described O'Donovan's actions as particularly concerning, given the sensitive nature of its work.
But once notified of the seizure of the material, it took immediate action, the agency said.