Sunday 25 March 2018

'Dole officer asked me for sex to drop fraud case' - mum

Defendant Andrew Gilmartin Picture: James Connolly
Defendant Andrew Gilmartin Picture: James Connolly

Greg Harkin

A single mother wept as she claimed to a jury that a civil servant asked her for oral sex in return for dropping a benefit fraud case against her.

The woman was giving evidence in the trial of Andrew Gilmartin (45), from Dromard, Grange, Co Sligo, who is facing one charge of coercion.

He is charged with compelling the woman to do an act which she had a lawful right to abstain from doing on April 9, 2014 at the Social Welfare Office, Cranmore, Sligo.

The woman told the jury of six women and six men at Sligo Circuit Criminal Court that she had gone voluntarily to the dole office to confess she had been working for five or six weeks while signing on.

She was in receipt of lone parent's allowance and had also begun a FAS course to re-sit her Junior Certificate. She alleged Mr Gilmartin began "pacing up and down" on his side of a desk in the interview room.

He had initially told her they would be able to sort it out but then told her the case was "a lot more serious" that she thought because she was also doing the FAS course. She alleged Mr Gilmartin left the room for a couple of minutes.

On his return "he started getting really upset and angry....he said it was a serious case. He came back into the room; he locked the door behind him. He said it was now an interview".

She said Mr Gilmartin sat down and went quiet for a while and began pacing up and down once again.

"He then said he could help me but we would have to keep it between ourselves and I said I would. I said 'thank you'," said the single parent.

"He said he would have to pull a lot of strings to get me out of the trouble I was in."

She said she explained she was a good mum who had got into financial difficulties and was under pressure to buy birthday gifts for her son and organise a party for him.

She said Mr Gilmartin then asked her what she was going to do for him. "I knew something was wrong. I thought I was in there forever. He paced up and down again. I said I was sorry and that I would pay it (the benefits) back out of my allowance.

"He asked 'What are you going to do for me? He put his feet up on the table and put his hands behind his head.

"This is what you are going to do for me - you are going to give me a b*** j**."

The woman said she ran to the door which was locked and ran out of the office.

"I kept running until I got to Dunnes Stores," she said.

The trial continues tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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