Limerick woman illegally chartered flights for rugby fans

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

A LIMERICK woman who operated an “illicit travel company” to fly Munster fans to rugby matches abroad falsely told an airline company in the UK that millionaire businessman JP McManus was a “silent investor” in her company, Limerick Circuit Court had heard.

A LIMERICK woman who operated an “illicit travel company” to fly Munster fans to rugby matches abroad falsely told an airline company in the UK that millionaire businessman JP McManus was a “silent investor” in her company, Limerick Circuit Court had heard.

Pamela Hickey, 38, of Ashford, Patrickswell, has pleaded guilty to two charges of deception and one charge of forgery in relation to chartering the services of airlines for return flights from Shannon to Toulouse in December 2004 and to Gatwick in January 2005.

One of the airlines, Monarch/First Aviation is owed over £34,000 (€39,000) from Ms Hickey, while €77,000 is owed to Air Charter Service.

Her defence, Brian McInerney, BL, told the court that Ms Hickey did not benefit financially from organising these away-trips, which included hotel accommodation and hotel transfers.

The defendant operated 15 flights abroad, 13 of which were paid for and all were “sold out”, the court heard, as support for the Munster team heightened during the Heineken Cup and Six Nations. “It became almost a religion,” Mr McInerney said.

State prosecutor John O’Sullivan, BL, told Judge Carroll Moran that “Ms Hickey attempted to capitalise on demand for travel in chartering aircraft to fly to airports where Munster were playing.” Mr O’Sullivan said as travel agents cannot act as licensed agents without a bond, Ms Hickey used the identities of other travel agents outside of Limerick to charter

*A full version of this story was published in the print edition of Limerick Leader, dated October 5, 2011