Ex-Alderman admits 23 fuel fraud charges

Bill Irwin, who appeared at court in Derry in connection with allrgations of making false claims at Stormont. Picture courtesy of Hugh Gallagher.
Bill Irwin, who appeared at court in Derry in connection with allrgations of making false claims at Stormont. Picture courtesy of Hugh Gallagher.

A former Londonderry DUP councillor admitted submitting 23 false expense claims for heating oil over a five-year period when he came before Londonderry Magistrates Court on Monday.

In the dock was Bill Irwin (55) of Duncastle Road, Newbuildings.

The court heard he had made the claims to the Northern Ireland Assembly purporting that the payments were for heating oil at the DUP office at Ebrington Terrace in the Waterside.

The court was told that instead of the heating oil being delivered to the DUP office, instead it was delivered to the defendant’s home.

The court heard that Irwin was a member of staff at the DUP Foyle Constituency Office at Ebrington Terrace, and the 23 separate charges which he admitted occurred between March 2009 and February 2014.

At the preliminary inquiry into the case, the court was told Irwin pleaded guilty to all charges. The value of the heating oil claimed by him was £8,960.

The District Judge, Barney McElholm, on hearing the evidence asked for a pre-sentence report to be compiled and ordered Irwin to return to court again on April 1.

Bill Irwin was elected to serve as an Alderman on Londonderry City Council back in 1993.

He served for four years with the Democratic Unionist Party before eventually losing his seat in the 1997 local government elections.

Addressing the defendant Mr McElholm said he should co-operate fully with the Probation Service with regard to the preparation of the pre-sentence report and should inform them of any change of address in the interim period.