Many of the victims of Mary Patricia Kerin’s actions were elderly, some suffering from Alzheimers.
Kerin, of Vernon Crescent, Westbury, Corbally, pleaded guilty at Limerick Circuit Court to 12 counts of forgery and six counts of theft. She received a three-year jail term, with the final 18 months suspended.
The crimes were carried out between 2010 and 2011. The transactions involved sums over €100,000. The amount outstanding was €19,000, which Kerin had paid back. The court heard she had worked at the GPO in Lower Cecil St for over 32 years. She had built up a trusting relationship with customers, dealing with pensions and savings accounts.
Many customers were elderly. In 2012, after a complaint was made that €456 had not been paid into a widow’s pension, an internal investigation was begun.
Initially, Kerin denied any knowledge and said she might have shortchanged a customer, and offered to make good the loss.
The fraud started after she was not made permanent to a temporary supervisor’s role to which she had been appointed. A depressive disorder led her to embark on a form of destructive behaviour. She lost her job.
Judge Tom O’Donnell said Kerin had damaged the integrity of the post office, in which people have the utmost trust that their money will be safe.