Limerick postal worker jailed over breach of trust

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Mary Patricia Kerin was sentenced to three years imprisonment with the final 18 months suspendedPicture: Press 22
A TRUSTED postal worker who removed €103,000 from the accounts of vulnerable An Post customers is, this week, beginning an 18 month prison sentence.

A TRUSTED postal worker who removed €103,000 from the accounts of vulnerable An Post customers is, this week, beginning an 18 month prison sentence.

Earlier this year 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”.

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.

During a sentencing hearing, 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, she removed €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 had Alzheimer’s 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.

Imposing sentence, Judge Tom O’Donnell noted that Ms Kerin’s job “was her life” and that she has found it very difficult to cope since the offences came to light.

He said he accepted her admissions and guilty plea had saved considerable court time and expense.

However, he said her initial denials and her attempt to “cover her tracks” were aggravating factors.

The judge said there had been an “enormous breach of trust for an institution of the State and its customers” .

While noting that Ms Kerin has no previous convictions and has offered and abject apology, Judge O’Donnell said he felt the premeditated nature of the offences warranted a custodial sentence.

Relatives of the defendant could be heard crying in the public gallery as he imposed a three year sentence, suspending the final 18 months.

Pat Barriscale BL initially sought a few days grace to allow his client to put her affairs in order.

However, the application was withdrawn a short time later.