A mother’s “love for a son” led to a woman using a forged driver’s licence to obtain bank loans so that she could purchase two cars, a court has heard.

Patricia Donoghue (61), with an address at Swifts Grove, Clonshaugh, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to using a false driver’s licence to open a bank account with AIB in 2007 and taking out loans under a false name to purchase cars in 2009 and 2011.

Judge Elma Sheahan sentenced Donoghue to two years’ imprisonment but suspended the entirety of the sentence for two years on the condition that she keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

Detective Garda Declan Fitzgerald told Grainne O’Neill BL, prosecuting, that Donoghue’s son was of greater interest to gardai, and that during a search of his home they discovered a bank statement in the name of ‘Anne Marie Kearney’.

He discovered that Donoghue had used a false driver’s licence in that name to open a bank account with AIB in July of 2007 and that she had taken out a loan of €15,000 on February 15, 2011 in order to purchase a car.

She also obtained a loan in 2009 which she used to purchase another car for €8,250. Donoghue paid off that loan in full and was in the process of making payments on the loan of €15,000 before her arrest.

Donoghue also attempted to insure one of the cars in the name of ‘Leon Rossiter’ with another fake driver’s licence bearing that name and which featured a photo of her son, Keith.

Det Fitzgerald said that Anne Marie Kearney was a real person who had left Ireland in the early 1980s and that her birth certificate had been acquired by a woman in Coolock, and was later passed onto Donoghue.

She told gardai she would “rather not say” how she obtained it.

Cathal McGreal BL, defending, said Donoghue was motivated by her son going on the run in 2005 due to his amassing a drug debt and that she was effectively blinded by “a mother’s love for a son”.

He said his client had raised two children single-handedly and had a good working record. She receives a social welfare benefit for deserted wives, and there had been no evidence of overpayment.

Donoghue has no previous convictions. She is house-bound due to suffering from numerous illnesses, including a pulmonary disorder, osteoporosis and emphysema.

Judge Sheahan said the mitigating factors in the case were her early plea, her co-operation with the investigation, her previous good character, her poor health, her loss of a job due to these charges, her remorse and her “misguided protection” of her son from drug debtors.

She said the aggravating factor in the case was the seriousness of the offence.