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Postal worker whose family was subject of attempted tiger kidnapping brings damages against An Post

Three masked raiders bearing firearms tied up Susan Byrne and her husband in October 2011, the court heard.

Image: Shutterstock/Robson90

A POSTAL WORKER whose family was the subject of a attempted tiger kidnapping has brought a High Court damages action against An Post and the postmaster of the branch she worked at.

The action has been brought by Susan Byrne, who in October 2011 worked as a post office clerk at Balbriggan sub-post office, Balbriggan Co Dublin. 
 
The High Court heard that on 4 October 2011 three masked raiders bearing firearms tied up Byrne and her husband. The following morning he was taken away by the raiders, and placed in a car with a dressing gown pulled over his head.

Byrne, believing her husband’s life was in danger. was ordered by the raiders to go to the post office and fill bags given to her by them with money.

The robbery failed after Byrne’s husband managed to escape. Arising out of the incident she has sued both An Post and the then postmaster of Balbriggan sub-post Office Paul Hannon, from Swords in Co Dublin.

As a result she claims she suffered injuries arising out of the defendant’s alleged negligence.

In her personal injuries claim, she claims that she was not warned of certain risks involved with her then employment, and was not provided with proper training or guidance in regards to the operation of the sub-post office. 

She also alleges that there was a failure to ensure staff were made aware of the risks presented by tiger kidnappings, and says she was not advised about preventative measures to eliminated the risk of such kidnappings.

The claims are denied.

Mr Justice Mark Sanfey ruled today on a pre-trial issue, concerning the discovery of certain documents in the case. 

Byrne, with an address at St Andrews Park, Swords sought certain documents from An Post which she claims she requires as part of her damages claims. 

An Post opposed the application on grounds that classes of documentation contain “highly sensitive information,” which if disclosed would pose a real and substantial risk to the security and safety of post offices and those working in them.

In his ruling the judge said he was prepared to make discovery of materials sought, including documents called the Postmasters Manual, and the An Post Retail Sub-Offices Procedures Handbook of 2006.

He said that while these are confidential and sensitive documents, the court was satisfied that there no significant risk that disclosure would place staff working at post offices at risk, and those documents did not attract public interest privilege.

The judge said that certain part of the 2006 handbook should be redacted, and said he expected the lawyers dealing with the case to limit the persons who see the discovered material to persons such as expert witnesses, the plaintiff and her legal team. 

The judge said that he was not prepared to order the discovery of other materials as they were not relevant to the claim.  

The judge adjourned the case to a date in March to allow the sides consider his ruling.

Comments have been closed as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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