THE NEWCASTLE West postmaster whose employment was terminated following the theft of €105,000 in a ‘Tiger’ kidnapping in 2011 was “negligent” and oversaw “a serious failure” in security at the time, according to court documents.
Thomas Kelleher, who earlier this summer lost a High Court challenge to prevent An Post from stripping him of a contract he held for 19 years, failed to train staff in how to deal with hostage situations and misused post office money by giving himself a €12,000 cash advance when going on holiday the day before the kidnapping, according to information provided during the case.
As part of their decision to cease his contract, An Post has demanded that Mr Kelleher come up with €52,500 – 50% of money stolen in the theft – after claiming that “security failures” and his negligence had contributed the success of the kidnapping.
Mr Kelleher was this week finalising a Supreme Court appeal against the decision by Mr Justice Michael Peart in May to dismiss his application for an injunction against An Post. The company has since restarted the process of seeking a new operator for the Newcastle West post office, but it may now have to put this on hold - possibly for several years - if the Supreme Court appeal goes ahead.
Mr Justice Peart’s written ruling, which was published last month following the finalisation of the High Court case, provides a detailed timeline of the behind-the-scenes cycle of accusation and recrimination between Mr Kelleher and An Post in the aftermath of the kidnapping on June 28, 2011.
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