Dramatic CCTV footage from a pub in Newbridge reveals the extent of the threat facing small businesses as they battle soaring insurance premiums and massive compensation claims.
The footage shows a person taking glass from beneath her top then placing it in her mouth before pretending to choke. She then tells bar staff the glass was in her food and she had accidentally eaten it.
Vivian Carroll, owner of Judge Roy Beans in Newbridge, where the footage was taken, says: “Sadly, this is typical of what I and many other publicans face on a weekly basis. It’s clear from the footage that after hiding glass in her clothes this person then deliberately places it in her mouth. She told a member of staff the glass was in her food, which was obviously not the case.
“We checked the CCTV footage and told her the entire incident had been recorded. The Gardaí were called, they took her details and she left. But if it wasn’t for security cameras I could possibly have faced a massive claim,” adds Mr Carroll.
The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) which represents Mr Carroll and 4,000 other publicans, says the case shines a light on the opaque world of compensation claims. VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben says: “The so-called ‘compo culture’ stems from the fact that people think they can get away with making outrageous insurance claims, a belief supported and encouraged by some within the legal sector and facilitated by insurers settling dubious claims. The public needs to understand that false and exaggerated claims force businesses to close and staff to lose their jobs.”
Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, says: “This footage is a timely reminder of the type of personal injury incidents experienced by organisations all over Ireland and the crippling insurance costs they cause. Unsustainable insurance costs are now pervasive right across Irish society and threaten the ability of small businesses, charities, voluntary groups, sports and arts organisations and festivals to function or survive. Equally, incidents like this demonise legitimate claimants for whom insurance cover is intended.
“The slow pace of reform by Government to address this crisis is compounding the issue. Despite all the political promises we have heard, we have yet to see tangible evidence of reforms that will make a real difference. Reforms like the establishment of a fully-funded and resourced Garda response, a meaningful reduction in the level of general damages being granted for minor, fully-recovered injuries and a commitment from the insurance industry to quantify the scale of promised premium reductions.”
VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben appeared on The Tonight Show on Virgin Media One to discuss the contents of the CCTV footage and the wider issue of fraud and compensation culture. Interview available here (starts at 34 minutes)