Staff at Limerick’s GPO on alert over social welfare fraud

Petula Martyn

Reporter:

Petula Martyn

Staff at Limerick’s GPO are having to deal with the “growing problem” of foreign nationals collecting social welfare payments using false identification.

Staff at Limerick’s GPO are having to deal with the “growing problem” of foreign nationals collecting social welfare payments using false identification.

The issue was revealed at Limerick District Court where a Somalian man admitted that he went to the post office on Cecil Street to withdraw someone else’s social welfare money.

The court was told that post office staff are being vigilant of other people attempting to commit the same offence.

Garda Dino Wilkinson told the court that a female member of staff recognised the man who attempted to withdraw a social welfare payment in the name of another African man.

When she refused the payment, the defendant became aggressive, grabbed a pen and threatened to stab the woman in the eye. He was arrested and brought to Henry Street Garda Station.

Garda Wilkinson told the court that the staff member was very distressed by the incident and was being comforted by her colleagues when he arrived at the scene.

Solicitor Sarah Ryan, on behalf of the Somalian man, said her client had been asked to collect the payment by the social welfare recipient who was in Sweden at the time. She said the man had provided her client with the necessary documentation to collect €196 in social welfare, and that he was to be paid €20.

The defendant was sentenced to six months in prison but the sentence was suspended for a year on condition he stays out of trouble.