herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Caretaker denies stealing pupils' fruit

Thomas Byrne denies eight counts of theft
Thomas Byrne denies eight counts of theft

A school caretaker has been accused of stealing fruit from lunches for disadvantaged pupils that had been delivered as part of a healthy eating scheme.

Thomas Byrne (55) is alleged to have taken bags of apples, oranges and bananas that were to have been given to children in a north Dublin primary school.

Mr Byrne, of Howth Road, Raheny, denies eight counts of theft at Scoil Fhursa, Cromcastle Green, Kilmore, where he worked as caretaker at the time.

The thefts - of 12 bags of apples, 14 bags of oranges and five bags of bananas worth a total of €67.25 - are alleged to have happened on dates between February 24 and March 5, 2014.

Judge Ann Ryan adjourned the case for continued hearing on a later date at Dublin District Court.

Principal Martin Stynes said the school was in a disadvantaged area and one initiative undertaken to allay this was the healthy eating scheme.

It involved Dublin City Council, suppliers Glanmore Food and the Department of Health.

Irregularities

The school began to notice irregularities in the supply. An investigation was carried out and the accused was dismissed.

Mr Stynes accepted other people had access to the school's alarm code, including the secretary and senior teachers as well as the caretaker for neighbouring Scoil Ide.

There was no policy or practice of people taking leftover food themselves, he said.

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