Welfare official ‘totally’ rejects claim he asked for oral sex

Woman who made allegation denies in Sligo court that the case was ‘all about money’

Andrew Gilmartin (46) ‘absolutely and totally refutes’ an allegation that he asked a woman for oral sex in return for her avoiding prosecution for fraud, Sligo Circuit Court heard on Friday. Photograph: James Connolly

Andrew Gilmartin (46) ‘absolutely and totally refutes’ an allegation that he asked a woman for oral sex in return for her avoiding prosecution for fraud, Sligo Circuit Court heard on Friday. Photograph: James Connolly

 

A Department of Social Protection official “absolutely and totally” rejects an allegation that he asked a woman for oral sex in return for her avoiding prosecution for fraud, Sligo Circuit Court heard today.

The woman who made the allegation, denied in court that the case was “all about money”.

She admitted under cross-examination that she had lied three times on a form relating to a review of her lone parent’s allowance.

Andrew Gilmartin (46) of Drumfad, Grange, Co Sligo, has pleaded not guilty to compelling a woman to do an act which “ she was lawfully entitled to abstain from “ at the Social Welfare offices in Cranmore , Sligo on April 9th 2014.

The jury of six men and six women heard that in a statement to gardai, the defendant said he “absolutely and totally” rejected the allegation against him.

He recalled saying “ah for f...’s sake” to the woman after she told him she was doing a course with the National Learning Network (NLN) because he was “terribly frustrated” with her. “I will admit it was unprofessional” he told gardai .

The defendant, who has worked with the department for 24 years, said he had told the woman she had more than likely committed fraud . The jury has heard that she was paid an allowance by the National Learning Network .

The woman has given evidence that she went into the social welfare office after being contacted about the fact that she had worked while getting the lone parents allowance.

The defendant said the woman told him she had worked in a hotel for a few weeks during the summer . He told her the department would need her payslips and he offered to get them from the hotel as she said she had left there on bad terms after having an accident.

She then told him about the NLN course and he left the room to find out if this would affect her payments. When he returned he told her it would and she said: “Oh my god I am in trouble now. I am in big trouble”.

“I said I would like to deal with this locally. I did not want it to escalate to a prosecution,” he recalled in his statement.

He calculated that the woman had been overpaid by €1400 or €1500, without taking into account her hotel work.

The accused said he had locked both doors in the interview room for privacy reasons , as soon as the woman had come in.

He told gardai he believed the woman was upset when she left the office because of the overpayments and because he had mentioned prosecution. He had rung her on her mobile to apologise for using bad language and she was very upset.

Earlier during cross examination Mr Rory Staines, counsel for the accused, put it to the woman that she had lied when filling in a lone parents’ allowance review form in November 2013 . She had said she was not doing a course, that she had not been working and that she did not have a bank account.

Pressed on whether she accepted that she lied three times , the woman replied ‘yes’

When counsel suggested that the accused had opened the door of the room to let her out, the woman replied: “That is a lie. I know exactly what happened in that room. I have lived with it for two years and three months”.

Counsel put it to the woman that her account of what happened in the room was “utterly incredible”, that a man who had been in the job for so long would “get up to this kind of carry on”.

The woman replied: “I know what happened in that room”.

The jury heard that no formal complaint about accused was made to the department and and that he still worked there.

Mr Staines put it to the woman that she had instructed a solicitor in relation to a civil action and that this was “all about money”. “This is not about money” she replied.

The trial has been adjourned until Tuesday.