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Connacht Tribune

240 hours’ community service for man in ‘crash for cash’ scam

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A 27-year-old man reared-ended a taxi on purpose so that passengers in the taxi could make a false insurance claim for personal injuries.

Barry Hynes, a father of two, from 40 Cullairbaun, Athenry, pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in October to attempting to commit deception, involving a staged road traffic accident at Carnmore Cross, Galway, on October 16, 2014, by inducing FBD insurance to pay out on an insurance claim for the staged accident, with the intention of making a gain for himself or causing a loss to FBD, contrary to Section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001, and contrary to Common Law.

Sentence was adjourned to today for the preparation of a probation report on Hynes.

Detective Tom Doyle told the sentence hearing Hynes had been coerced and bullied by others into getting involved in the staged accident.

He said the main protagonist, who is the subject of an ongoing investigation and was not named in court, had bought the Passat car which Hynes was driving a few weeks before the accident was staged and had paid the deposit for an insurance policy which Hynes obtained from FBD for the 17-year-old car.

Det Doyle said from his investigations he found that four passengers, who were all related to the unnamed main protagonist or “accident arranger” got a taxi from a hotel in Oranmore to another hotel in Claregalway, six miles away.

Hynes rear-ended the taxi while it was stopped at traffic lights at Carnmore Cross, halfway between both hotels.

The taxi driver, who was unaware of the scam, told Gardai later that the impact was just a slight bump and no material damage was done to either car. The passengers said they were okay and both drivers exchanged insurance details at the scene, he said.

All four passengers in the taxi subsequently lodged claims against FBD insurance and the personal injuries board for personal injuries.

FBD launched an investigation and monitored social media contact which proved the parties involved were all related in some way.

Hynes was interviewed by FBD investigators and admitting knowing those involved.  He said he was to be paid €600 and given a mobile phone for rear-ending the taxi.

FBD contacted Gardai and Det Doyle began his investigation.

He did a trawl of mobile phone activity between Hynes and the “arranger” before the accident occurred.

“FBD has not paid compensation to any of the parties involved in the accident,” Det Doyle added.

He agreed with defence counsel, James Charity, that Hynes had no previous convictions and was unlikely to reoffend.

He said Hynes had co-operated fully in the Garda investigation and was now living in fear of retaliation by the ‘arranger’.

“I believe he was bullied into doing this,” Det Doyle added.

He agreed with Mr Charity that it would have been very difficult to detect what had happened but for the full admissions made by Hynes to FBD investigators.

He said his client had got “cold feet” on the day and had not hit the taxi at the first opportunity.  The “arranger” had been very angry with him and he did give the taxi “a slight bump” when the taxi approached the traffic lights on the return journey.

Afterwards, the passengers in the taxi were angry with him because he had not hit the taxi hard and had only nudged the car. He was given a broken mobile phone on the journey home.

Judge Rory MacCabe asked if other prosecutions had been taken or were they pending. Det Doyle confirmed Hynes had been fully co-operative, and while this was a stand-alone prosecution the investigation was ongoing.

Adopting the recommendations of a probation report which was handed into court, Judge MacCabe directed Hynes carry out 240 hours’ community service in lieu of a two-year prison sentence.

Afterwards the hearing, Jackie McMahon, Chief Claims Officer at FBD Insurance said: “We robustly defend suspect claims as otherwise our customers will pay for the fraud of others. This result sends a clear signal that the courts will not allow insurance fraudsters to cheat the majority of consumers. We hope this case will act as a severe deterrent to anyone considering insurance fraud.

“Insurance fraud ultimately costs everybody in the price they pay for their insurance. Suspected fraud will be vigorously contested, with the perpetrators brought to justice.”

Connacht Tribune

Exploring the merits of moving into the west

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Kennedy with Carol Ho, one of the Galway interviewees for her new TG4 series, Moving West. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.

“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.

These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.

But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.

Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.

One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.

The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing

Dave O'Connell

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Well saved...members of St Brendan's GAA Club honour their departed stalwart, John Geraghty, after a record-breaking evening saving his turf.

A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.

They lifted and footed his turf.

John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.

He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.

“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.

Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!

“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.

Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.

They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.

Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat

Denise McNamara

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Daddy’s girl…Sadhbh Browne with her very special message on organ donations. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.

After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.

“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”

But it could have all been so different.

Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.

She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.

Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.

Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.

Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.

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