A DISTRICT court judge said that two Bantry men who were caught by gardaí collecting for the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation were using it as a cover for ‘personal’ fundraising.
Judge James McNulty made the comment at Bandon District Court last week when sentencing John and James Delaney, both of The Pier, Bantry, to 60 days in prison after they pleaded guilty to holding a collection without an authorised permit.
Sgt Paul Kelly told the court that on November 23rd last gardaí in Kinsale received a report of two males carrying out a collection outside the Lidl store in the town.
When Gda Cormac Dineen and Padraig Walsh went to the scene they saw the two defendants wearing Jack & Jill t-shirts and they had a bucket with a Jack & Jill poster on it and there was loose change in it.
‘John Delaney told them that Michaela Foley, a fundraiser executive from Jack & Jill, had sent them the material and he believed that the sponsorship card was the permit and he was planning to run a marathon after Christmas for the organisation,’ said Sgt Kelly.
‘Michaela Foley confirmed to gardaí later that she had sent them two t-shirts and four sponsorship cards and told them not to hold a collection without a permit and said she didn’t send them a collection bucket.’
The court heard that the gardaí arrested the pair and seized the two buckets, two t-shirts and €61.50 in cash, and Gda Dineen found another bucket and poster in their van.
The court heard that James Delaney has 81 previous convictions, including three in relation to street and house-to-house collection, while John Delaney has 19 previous convictions, but none for this type of offence with most of them for public order offending and affray.
Giving evidence, John Delaney, who said he buried a young child four years ago, had previously undertaken a skydive on behalf of another charity, LauraLynn.
‘I said I’d run a marathon then for Jack & Jill and spoke to Michaela and she sent me out the sponsorships cards and t-shirts. I thought they were the permit as otherwise I wouldn’t have done it,’ he said.
Mr Delaney said the money was ‘100% going to Jack & Jill’ and he genuinely thought it was all legitimate and that James said he would do the marathon with him.
Solicitor for both men, Ray Hennessy, said his clients were collecting for genuine reasons and that there was no attempt for self-gain and John has previously done the charity skydive for LauraLynn.
However, Judge McNulty said he didn’t accept their explanation and that Michaela Foley had told them about the conditions attached.
‘The Jack & Jill t-shirt and bucket was a cover and it was for personal fundraising,’ said Judge McNulty.
Judge McNulty sentenced John Delaney to 60 days in prison but suspended it for two years on the usual conditions, in his own bond of €100, with no cash required.
He convicted and sentenced James Delaney to 60 days in prison which he said must be served.
Recognisance in the event of an appeal was fixed in their own bonds of €100 each.