Ailish Nic Phaidín has sued the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the State arising from the alleged handling of matters by the Department of Foreign Affairs following her dismissal or forced resignation from the US embassy in Dublin, in 1987.
Ms Nic Phaidín, 60, is originally from Rathmullan but now lives in Palm Bay, Florida.
She claims that while working for the US embassy, she was interrogated for two hours before being told she could be fired or resign. She was later escorted out by a US marine.
During her 11-year employment in the embassy, she claims she was pinned to a wall and assaulted on one occasion.
She alleges on another occasion a drug was put into her drink when she was in the basement bar of the embassy and she woke up in the home of an embassy official where, she claims, she was raped.
Ms Nic Phaidín was giving evidence in the first day of her action before the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, arising from losing her job at the embassy.
Now a PR consultant, Ms Nic Phaidin claims she sought assistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs in the settlement of her employment dispute with the US embassy.
She alleges the department breached its duty of care to her and acted negligently in not conveying an offer of €200,000 from the embassy in 1996.
She claims she was advised by a department official to initiate legal proceedings in the US against the embassy which were later struck out on a jurisdictional point. The department, she alleges, failed to fulfil its duties in relation to her dealings with the US embassy.
The Minister denies the claims of breach of duty of care and pleads the department acted as an intermediary and attempted to bring her situation to the attention of the embassy. While there was discussion in 1996 on some kind of an offer, no offer was in fact ever made, it contends. The State claims it had no duty of care to Ms Nic Phaidín and pleads at all times the department did its best for her.
In evidence, Ms Nic Phaidín said she started work at the US embassy in 1976. In 1986 she got a salary increase and a form of loyalty certificate in recognition of her 10 years’ service, she said.
She said she was having a drink in the embassy basement in October 1976 when a man – referred to as Mr Y – put a drug in her drink. She said she awoke in his house in south Dublin and was raped but did not go to the Garda as the man had diplomatic status. She said in a 1985 incident, another man, Mr X, pinned her against a wall in the embassy basement and assaulted her. She said he had said: “I heard all about you.”
She said in February 1987 she was called to the security officer and interrogated on whether she was an IRA or Communist Party member, had visited an eastern bloc country or knew spies or terrorists. She said she was brought to Mr X’s office and told her security clearance had been withdrawn and she could be fired or resign.