Limerick postal worker targeted vulnerable customers

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Mary Patricia Kerin pleaded guilty Picture Press 22
A JUDGE has described as “extremely disturbing” the case of a trusted postal worker who removed €103,000 from the accounts of vulnerable An Post customers.

A JUDGE has described as “extremely disturbing” the case of a trusted postal worker who removed €103,000 from the accounts of vulnerable An Post customers.

Mary Patricia Kerin, aged 53, of Vernon Crescent, Westbury pleaded guilty to 18 sample charges of theft and forgery relating to offences on dates between May 28, 2010 and January 12, 2012.

During a sentencing hearing, Detective Garda James Hourihane said Kerin - a single woman, who is originally from West Clare - stole almost €20,000. She also made a series of unlawful transactions - withdrawing more than €80,000 which she repaid within days in what were described as “paper transactions”.

Limerick Circuit Court was told Kerin worked for An Post for 32 years and was based at the GPO, Cecil Street at the time of the offences. She has since been dismissed.

John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, said Kerin “had interfered with the accounts of highly vulnerable people,” as some were elderly while others were sick.

In one case, Kerin stole €18,300 from a woman in her eighties who was in a nursing home.

Money was also taken from the account of housebound woman who has Alzheimers and in another case, thousands of euro was stolen from a woman who has a son with special needs.

“She knew the account holders and she knew their vulnerabilities,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

Judge Tom O’Donnell was told an initial audit was carried out by An Post after a complaint was made by a woman from County Limerick in relation to her husband’s pension payment which was incorrect.

When discrepancies were found relating to a number of other customer accounts a “full and thorough audit” was carried out.

The offences were traced back to the defendant as every An Post employee has a unique ID which they must use when carrying out transactions.

Pat Barriscale BL, said his client’s conduct was “irrational” and he submitted a report from Kerin’s GP suggesting the offences were linked to a “depressive disorder” which she developed after she failed to get a promotion.

Mr O’Sullivan said the prosecution was “mystified” by this.

The case was adjourned to October 1, next.