Sunday 21 January 2018

Woman sues over alleged rape by US Embassy official

Ailish Nic Phaidin.
Ailish Nic Phaidin.

Tim Healy

A WOMAN who claims she was raped by a US embassy official while working there -- before being forced to resign -- has sued the State.

Ailish Nic Phaidin (60) claims she was raped in the home of a US embassy official in Dublin 36 years ago, the High Court heard.

In an incident shortly after she started work in the embassy in 1976, she alleged a drug was put in her drink in the embassy basement bar and when she woke up, she was in the home of an embassy official where she claims she was raped.

A PR consultant, Ms Nic Phaidin, originally from Rathmullan, Co Donegal, and now living in Palm Bay, Florida, has brought an action against the Foreign Affairs Minister and the State in relation to her dismissal or forced resignation from the US embassy, Ballsbridge, in Dublin in 1987.

Ms Nic Phaidin has claimed she sought assistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs in the settlement of her employment dispute with the embassy.

She has claimed the department breached its duty of care to her and acted negligently in not conveying an offer in 1996 of €200,000 from the embassy.

Ms Nic Phaidin also claims she was advised by a department official to initiate legal proceedings in the US against the embassy which were later struck out because of lack of jurisdiction.

The Department of Foreign Affairs denies the claims and says while there was discussions in 1996 on some kind of an offer, no offer was in fact ever made. The State claims it had no duty of care to Ms Nic Phaidin.

In another incident in 1985, she said a man called Mr X pinned her up against a wall and assaulted her and said: "I heard all about you."

In February 1987, she said she was called to the security officer and was interrogated over two hours and asked if she was a member of the IRA or a member of the Communist Party or had visited an eastern bloc country or whether she knew spies or terrorists.

She said she was brought to Mr X's office and told her security clearance had been withdrawn and she could be fired or resign.

"I had no choice. He had two pieces of paper pre-written, my dismissal letter or resignation letter," she said.

After she signed the letter of resignation she was escorted from the embassy by a marine.

Ms Nic Phaidin told the court that it was only in these proceedings she discovered a hint her dismissal might have something to do with her membership of a cultural organisation called the Irish Arab Society.

She said her involvement was well known to the embassy for at least seven years prior to her dismissal.

The case before Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns continues.

Irish Independent

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