Limerick man threatens to go on hunger strike in row over insurance for stolen car

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

A CONVICTED criminal has said that he is prepared to go on hunger strike and die if an insurance company refuses to pay out on a policy for his car, which was stolen and burned out in Abbeyfeale while he was in prison.

A CONVICTED criminal has said that he is prepared to go on hunger strike and die if an insurance company refuses to pay out on a policy for his car, which was stolen and burned out in Abbeyfeale while he was in prison.

Gerry McDonagh, 47, said that he intends to “picket” the local offices of AXA Insurance over their refusal to pay out on a claim for €24,000 for his Toyota Auris, which was set fire to outside his home in Caherconnell, Abbeyfeale in July 2009. It is understood that the insurance company and Mr McDonagh are at odds over whether or not the car was formally reported as stolen. Mr McDonagh openly admits that one of his sons stole the car, but denies that they set fire to it.

“If they don’t cough up, I’m going to picket them. I’m going to go on hunger strike until I drop. I’ll only drink water. Justice is justice. [My son] wasn’t the one who burned it. I don’t care who burned it. I just want what I’m owed”, Mr McDonagh told the Limerick Leader.

The car and Mr McDonagh’s family home were both fire bombed in July 2009, while he and his son Gary McDonagh were being held on remand over charges relating to an incident involving their neighbour, Anthony Brosnan, a number of days earlier.

Gerry McDonagh was later sentenced to six months in prison for assaulting Mr Brosnan, and for public order offences.

Mr McDonagh and his family currently live in Fedamore, having moved there in 2009 after a notorious stint in Abbeyfeale, during which time his family were linked to assaults, shootings and arson attacks.

Mr McDonagh said that since his release from prison in June 2010, he has been trying to get AXA to pay out on the insurance policy for the 2008 vehicle, which he insists was fully comprehensive and included fire and theft cover.

He said that he has been “blackguarded by the State, the police, and the insurance companies”, and is now prepared to go on hunger strike.

Mr McDonagh said that the insurance company have told him that the car has yet to be formally reported as stolen. He rejects this, claiming that gardai were made aware of it when they were investigating the burning of his home in Abbeyfeale, which caused €75,000 worth of damage alone.

He claims that he also mentioned it in an incident “around 2010”, when he gave a statement to gardai while standing in a tree with a rope around his neck.

“I told them if they didn’t take my statement, I would hang myself. They took the statement when I was up in the tree with a rope around my neck.”

A spokesperson for AXA Insurance declined to comment on the case.