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Sunday 11 December 2016

Robbed by an armed gang -so An Post gave her the sack

Stephen Maguire

Published 28/07/2010 | 05:00

AN Post demanded that a postmistress pay them €80,000 after a terrifying armed robbery in which a large cash sum was stolen.

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Bernie Moore has also been notified that An Post bosses are terminating her contract in the coming weeks for failing to follow security procedures.

Mrs Moore has run the post office in the village of Carrigans, Co Donegal for 30 years. But in February 2009, her life was turned upside down when three armed raiders put a gun to her head and got away with more than €100,000 in cash.

Just weeks after the vicious raid, the married mother of three began to receive letters from An Post, saying it was not happy with how she had handled security at the branch.

Last January, she was told her contract was being terminated and that she would have to pay €80,000 to An Post.

She appealed the decision, but in June, An Post told her that her service was being terminated on August 31.

However, it is understood that it is no longer pursuing her for the money.

Because her contract is being terminated, Mrs Moore is not entitled to any financial gratuity after three decades of loyal service.

Last night, Mrs Moore said she did not know how she would make ends meet as her husband Norman had also lost his job recently.

"They keep telling me that I did not follow the proper security procedures -- but how can you do that when three armed men try to rob you?" she asked.

She said that although the three men had put a gun to her head, it was An Post that was now putting her under huge strain.

"I can't sleep at night, thinking about what the future holds. My poor father died of cancer earlier this year but I was in the post office the next morning.

"All I ever did for An Post was my best. I think I provided a very good service to the community for 30 years.

"When the nearby post office in St Johnston closed, I was happy to help the customers in that area when they came here.

"I just don't know why they (An Post) are doing this to me," she said.

A petition was signed by more than 700 local people and there was also a huge march through the town in support of the well-known postmistress.

Local Labour councillor Frank McBrearty Jnr, one of Mrs Moore's strongest supporters, said he was disgusted at how an ordinary, decent woman had been treated.

"This is one of the biggest miscarriages of justice I have come across and I will fight tooth and nail for Bernie and her family," he said.

"Bernie Moore is the most honest and decent person around. She has given her life to An Post -- and this is how she is rewarded."

Inquiry

Cllr McBrearty also called on Justice Minister Dermot Ahern to hold a public inquiry into the robbery after claiming the face of the getaway driver was clearly visible on CCTV footage.

An Post has already advertised for a replacement postmaster/postmistress for the Carrigans area, starting on September 1 -- the day after Bernie Moore's contract ends.

A spokesman for An Post said last night that the company was reluctant to comment because it was a sensitive matter.

"Security procedures were not followed and that cannot be allowed. We have withdrawn the demand for the money but the operator's contract is being terminated. We cannot say any more at this stage," he said.

Irish Independent

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