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Taxi man hit on the double by insurance fraud

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A taxi driver had his insurance policy increased by 346% after a claim was lodged against him which was later found to be fraudulent.

Emeka Agbo received a renewal premium from his insurer, Liberty Insurance, in 2014 for a sum of €949.91. The first monthly payment of €79.16 was due on September 22.

In early October 2014, Mr. Agbo received a solicitor’s letter on behalf of a passenger who claimed he was in a road traffic accident while using Mr Agbo’s taxi.

Mr Agbo informed his insurers of the claim, which he could not understand given that he had not been involved in any road traffic accident.

It transpired that the claimant had travelled in his taxi two months before and appeared to be intoxicated. Before being left off at KFC at Briarhill, the man took photographs of the taxi driver, his identification and the vehicle with his camera phone. Mr Agbo reported the inicdent to the gardai and made a formal statement.

Liberty Insurance carried out their own investigation of the claim and a motor assessor confirmed that the taxi had not been involved in any road traffic accident.

The claims handler engaged by Liberty informed Mr Agbo that they deemed the claim fraudulent and were marking the file as such.

No claim has been submitted to the personal injuries board.

Liberty Insurance wrote to Mr Agbo in mid-October last year informing him that they were doubling his premium from €949.91 to €1873.86.

The father of two was then shocked to receive a renewal premium quote of €4233.62 in September 2015, representing an increase of 346%.

Independent Councillor James Charity said he is planning to lodge a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman on Mr Agbo’s behalf.

He is calling for regulations to be introduced which prevent insurance companies increasing premiums until the determination of a claim against the policy, as they were treating their premium holders as guilty until proven innocent.

“This is not the first time I have heard a complaint of insurance companies treating their premium holders as guilty until proven innocent but it certainly represents the largest single increase I have come across in these circumstances,” he said.

“It is clear that there is significant profiteering going on by some insurers who increase premiums in this manner without any payout on a claim and which claims are, in some cases, unjustified and without foundation.

“A premium of €4233.62, despite no successful claim on his policy ever having been made, is placing significant hurdles in the way of him earning a living and is, arguably, against EU Law and the European Charter on Human Rights.”

CITY TRIBUNE

GAA club’s tournament honours stalwart who died at just 28

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Pictured at the launch of the Darragh Frain Memorial Tournament which takes place in Mervue this Saturday. Back: Kevin Curran, Kevin Barrett, Robert Fitzgerald, Aidan Brady, Alan O'Donnell, Donal Murphy, Eanna O'Connell, Eoghan Frain, David Henry. Front: Aodhain Ó Conghaile, Liam O'Donnell, Rory Murphy, Fionn Fitzgerald and Michael Barrett.

The untimely passing of a city GAA stalwart six years ago is still deeply felt by the club he represented but he remains an inspiration to young up-and-coming footballers who will be displaying their skills this weekend.

The Darragh Frain Memorial Tournament for under-age teams will take place in St James’ GAA grounds at Mervue tomorrow, Saturday, when many memories of a great young clubman will be exchanged.

Darragh, from Lurgan Park in Renmore, was just 28 years of age when he lost his battle with cancer in 2016. Since then his beloved club has been organising a tournament for young footballers that’s proving immensely popular.

For tomorrow’s event, the St James club will entertain local teams including St Michael’s, Salthill-Knocknacarra, Killanin and an Cheathrú Rua, as well as Kiltane (Bangor Erris) and Elphin-Ballinameen from North Roscommon.

It is a nine-a-side tournament, which takes place from 11am to 5pm, and will involve Under-11 teams who will compete against each other during the day.

The fact that Darragh’s late father, Tom Frain Senior, hailed from Roscommon means that GAA support for the event is coming from both counties – this makes it extra special, as well as adding to the profile of the tournament.

Best friend and one of the event’s main organisers, another St James stalwart David Henry explained that this was the sixth year of the tournament and that Darragh would be very pleased that his name was being associated with the development of under-age football.

Get the full story in this week’s Galway City Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Too many cafés’ as city retail continues to decline

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Barber Tom Nally outside his premises.

The changing face of Galway city centre is a source of concern to those who say it reflects a decline for people in terms of retail choices.

Those who regret the loss of several long-standing family-run operations in the city in recent years don’t believe that what has replaced them has enhanced the appearance of Shop Street, in particular.

“We are looking at a proliferation of coffee shops, bookies and mobile phone outlets in their place,” observed long-standing city centre businessman Tom Nally.

Cllr Niall McNelis agreed there were far too many coffee shops in the city centre and believed that anything that has been zoned retail by the Council should remain retail.

The Labour Councillor said a proper retail strategy needed to be adopted and some of the ‘big-name brands’ needed to be encouraged into the centre of Galway to lure shoppers into town.

Meanwhile, popular barber Tom Nally regretted the number of family operations that have ceased trading in the recent past.

“It is sad to see the long-established family businesses in the city centre going and it would be great to say that what is replacing them will enhance our streets . . . but unfortunately this is not the case,” he added.

Mr Nally who has been operating out of his High Street premises for almost 50 years, said the number of unoccupied premises in an around the city centre was a new phenomenon.

Get the full story in this week’s Galway City Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

State cracks down on quick-buck landlords

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New measures to clamp down on illegal short-term lets in the city will kick in next month, in an attempt to tackle mounting pressure on the rental market.

From September 1, sites such as Airbnb and Booking.com will no longer be allowed to advertise short-term rentals if the correct planning permission is not in place.

The measure seeks to strengthen laws introduced in 2019 which state that the use of a property for short-term letting for longer than 90 days in a rent-pressure zone requires permission from the local authority.

City Councillor Niall Murphy (Green) said the move follows on from an objection he lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI).

“The ASAI said it couldn’t be expected to police these ads so the websites like Airbnb were off the hook. But after September, they will have to ensure that those advertising on their sites have planning permission,” he said.

The proliferation of short-term lets in the city has been a contentious issue for a number of years, with scores of holiday leases available at the same time as city residents are battling it out for an extremely limited number of rental properties.

This week, almost 400 short-term lets were available on the leading website, Airbnb, while just 19 homes were up for rent on Daft.ie.

Get the full story in this week’s Galway City Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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