Tuesday 21 November 2017

GPO worker let go 'over stamp sales'

Fergus Black

A WOMAN who worked for An Post since the age of 17 was dismissed from her job following an alleged breach of trust, an Employments Appeal Tribunal has been told.

Lynne O'Neill, from Dublin, who worked on the stamp counter at the GPO, was dismissed from her job in February 2011 following an investigation into a number of financial transactions involving stamps.

Ms O'Neill's counsel, Cathal McGreal, said she was unfairly dismissed and was seeking reinstatement. The case revolved around a "breach of trust" in relation to three financial transactions – two of which involved the purchase of stamps from Ms O'Neill at her counter.

In one case while a package cost €6 to post, it arrived at its destination with no stamps on it, Seamus Clarke, counsel for An Post said.

When An Post was alerted it sent a "test" package through Ms O'Neill's counter. Although the package cost €7.50 to post, when it was retrieved by An Post after passing through its postal system it only contained €6 in stamps. Mr Clarke said that Ms O'Neill had not given a satisfactory explanation.

If these were the only two transactions to be concerned about they would be enough cause for her dismissal because she was on a final written warning at the time. However, there was a third financial transaction which was more complex and which involved a "discrepancy" in stamp stock to the value of €560.

Helena Foley, who worked in An Post's crime prevention unit, said she visited the GPO as a customer on January 12, 2010, to post a package to her son in Cork. The packet cost €6 to post and she waited for the package to be returned so that she could put the stamps on it.

"When that didn't happen she asked: 'Are you OK?' and she said she would put the stamps on for me. She didn't make any offer whatsoever to get the stamps and put them on the envelope."

She was offered a receipt and later mentioned the incident to a colleague who advised her to ask her son to return the package. She said she doubted that the stamps could have fallen off. Asked why she presumed Ms O'Neill would not put stamps on the packet, she replied that when she paid for something "I like to see what I've paid for".

The case was adjourned until April 29 next.

Irish Independent

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