Saturday 25 February 2017

Employee sent text to caller looking for date

Edel Kennedy

A YOUNG woman who rang the Revenue helpline for tax information contacted gardai after the employee she spoke to texted her asking for a date.

The man in question had a drinking problem, and there had been "an issue 10 years ago regarding the harassment of another member of staff".

There was no formal record of disciplinary action from the harassment issue but in April 2008 a complaint was made by a woman who had called the 1890 helpline.

She said the Revenue employee asked her "a lot of questions" about where she was living, if she was living alone and where her partner was living.

She said this made her feel uncomfortable, but she reassured herself she was talking to a government employee.

However, 25 minutes later she received a text from the man. "I was talking to you earlier. . ." it read, "would you like to meet me sometime for dinner, pictures. . ."

She immediately contacted the gardai. A note of a phone conversation with the complainant read: "She stated that she is seriously worried that he could call out to her isolated house -- as she is usually on her own." Gardai took a statement from the woman on the matter, but no charges were brought.

Bloodstained

However, the following year a further complaint was received about the same employee.

A taxpayer said he was receiving unsolicited correspondence from the Revenue, which included Revenue forms, a print-out from the internet on holidays in Rome as well as an item that appeared "bloodstained". The items were sent in official envelopes.

He had been receiving one or two items a week. "A complaint lodged by a customer that he was receiving ongoing unsolicited mail over the years (including non-Revenue items) posted from Revenue, and as a result, felt intimated," internal notes read.

When the employee was interviewed it was "agreed" that "it was not blood" on the correspondence. "The bottom line here is that we simply cannot depend on him to carry out his customer services duties unless he changes his behaviour totally," a confidential memo read.

In one internal interview he stated he "very occasionally gave basic single credits to young neighbours starting work for the first time" but denied ever giving significant credits such as those for a single parent.

Irish Independent

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