Belfast Telegraph

Post office workers' joy as cash settlement agreed

Deirdre Connolly and Fiona Elliott were among 550 post office staff that decided to take a stand against the Post Office Ltd (stock photo)
Deirdre Connolly and Fiona Elliott were among 550 post office staff that decided to take a stand against the Post Office Ltd (stock photo)

By Anna McKibben

Two former Northern Ireland postmistresses have told of their relief that a landmark ruling involving their employer has been reached.

Deirdre Connolly and Fiona Elliott were among 550 post office staff that decided to take a stand against the Post Office Ltd.

Both women were forced to spend thousands of pounds on their post offices after an IT failure.

As a result of a newly reached settlement, £58 million will be paid out. This puts an end to the series of court cases levied against the Post Office. They have admitted to "falling short" in the past.

Connolly said she was "delighted" to know that "no other sub-postmaster is going to go through what we went through," while Elliott said she was happy to know that "now their names are cleared."

Connolly (49), from Co Tyrone, was the sub postmistress of the post office in Killeter. It was there that she was accused of stealing £16,000. Speaking at the time she said: "I was totally shocked - I did not know what had happened or what to do," before stressing, "categorically, I did not steal the money".

She was immediately forced to meet a fraud investigator in Omagh after the system revealed she owed them money. Connolly was then forced to repay money that she didn't take.

Even after paying £16,000, the business eventually went "bankrupt".

Fiona Elliott ran the post office in Clady, Co Tyrone, from 2004-2009.

The post office was attached to a convenience store. Every evening Elliott said she would take money from the shop till and put it into the post office.

Elliott was forced to subsidise the struggling post office with her own money. Altogether she spent £8,500.

She explained that the money spent to keep the post office running "left the shop side of the business struggling." In the end, Elliott also had to close her shop.

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