Former An Post manager pleads guilty to €1.7m theft
A SENIOR An Post manager yesterday pleaded guilty to the theft of almost €1.7m from postal accounts.
He is alleged to have taken the money because of a gambling addiction.
At Wexford Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, Tony O'Reilly (37), of Sandhills, Hacketstown Road, Carlow, pleaded guilty to six offences of theft and six other charges of falsifying An Post lodgement dockets for accounting purposes between December 6, 2010, and June 29, 2011.
The former Gorey postal manager replied 'guilty' in a one-word response to the charges.
The thefts amounted to a total of €1,650,000.
Defence counsel Patrick McCarthy requested that the case be adjourned to the October sessions. He also asked for the preparation of a probation and welfare report.
The defendant, he said, was also undergoing counselling treatment at Cuan Mhuire centre in Athy. As a result, he asked that his client be kept on free legal aid for the provision of a report from Cuan Mhuire.
Judge Barry Hickson agreed to the two requests.
O'Reilly, who stood in court wearing a rain jacket, left the courtroom through a side door following a short consultation with his legal team.
When the crime was first discovered a year ago, O'Reilly could not be found after he had disappeared on his way to work at Gorey post office from his home in Carlow.
Gardai were called in by the postal authorities and local officers, backed up by detectives from the national fraud bureau, launched a probe and interviewed members of staff after an internal audit discovered the 'black hole' in the finances of the post office branch.
O'Reilly left his home at 6.30am to drive to the post office in Gorey.
His wife Lorraine became concerned when she received a text message from his work mobile stating that he had been involved in a car crash near Tullow on his way to work.
Internal auditors, who were present in Gorey post office at the time, also received a similar text message.
The defendant was later located in Belfast before returning to Carlow.