Postal worker takes damages action against An Post over ‘tiger’ kidnapping

Court hears masked raiders tied up Susan Byrne and husband

Arising out of the incident, Ms Byrne has sued An Post and Paul Hannon, from Swords, the then postmaster of Balbriggan sub-post office. Photograph: iStock

Arising out of the incident, Ms Byrne has sued An Post and Paul Hannon, from Swords, the then postmaster of Balbriggan sub-post office. Photograph: iStock

 

A postal worker whose family was the subject of an attempted “tiger” kidnapping has brought a High Court damages action against An Post and the postmaster of the branch where she worked.

Susan Byrne worked as a post office clerk in 2011 at Balbriggan sub-post office, Balbriggan, Co Dublin.

The High Court heard that, on October 4th, 2011, three masked raiders bearing firearms tied up Ms Byrne and her husband and he was taken away the following morning by the raiders and placed in a car with a dressing gown pulled over his head.

Ms Byrne, believing her husband’s life was in danger, was ordered by the raiders to go to the post office and fill bags given by them to her with money. The robbery failed after Ms Byrne’s husband managed to escape.

Arising out of the incident, she has sued An Post and Paul Hannon, from Swords, the then postmaster of Balbriggan sub-post office.

She claims she suffered injuries arising out of the defendants’ alleged negligence. She claims 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 failure to ensure staff were made aware of risks presented by tiger kidnappings and says she was not advised about preventative measures to eliminate the risk of such kidnappings. The claims are denied.

On Friday, Mr Justice Mark Sanfey ruled on pre-trial issues concerning discovery of certain documents for the case. Ms Byrne, St Andrews Park, Swords, sought certain documents from An Post, which 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 order discovery of documents including the Postmasters’ Manual and the An Post Retail Sub-Offices Procedures Handbook of 2006.

Confidential

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

The judge said certain parts of the 2006 handbook should be redacted and he expected the lawyers dealing with the case to limit sight of the discovered material to persons such as expert witnesses, the plaintiff and her legal team. He declined to order the discovery of certain other materials on the basis they were not relevant to the claim.

The case has been adjourned to next month to allow the sides consider his ruling.