Limerick hunger striker ends protest after three days

Gerard Fitzgibbon


Gerard Fitzgibbon

Gerry McDonagh protesting outside Axa insurance on O'Connell Street picture: Adrian Butler

Gerry McDonagh protesting outside Axa insurance on O'Connell Street Picture: Adrian Butler

A LIMERICK man has ended his hunger strike in protest at an insurance company’s refusal to pay out on a policy for his car, which was stolen and burned out while he was in prison.

Gerry McDonagh, of Fedamore, also placed a picket outside the offices of AXA Insurance on O’Connell Street in the city as part of a row over a €24,000 policy for his Toyota Auris.

Mr McDonagh last week told the Limerick Leader that he would go on hunger strike “until I drop” unless the company pay out on the policy. He began his hunger strike last Saturday, only drinking “tea and water” until Monday, when he said that he stopped due to medical advice.

He told the Limerick Leader that he had decided to end his picket outside AXA after consultations with his solicitor.

It is understood that the dispute centres on whether or not the car was reported as stolen after it was destroyed near the then-McDonagh home in Abbeyfeale. Mr McDonagh’s son Raymond, who is serving five years in jail, told the Limerick Leader from prison this week that he stole his father’s car in July 2009, but he was not the one who burned it out.

“When we was fighting with our neighbours... four or five lads were coming down to my mother’s house with hammers and slash hooks. I was in the kitchen and I says, ‘what the f*** is going on?’

“I took the car and drove it out to try and get them away from the house. My mother and my sister were inside [the house]. I knocked one of the fellas over, but I crashed the car because they threw a brick through the window.”

He said that it was this group of men, who “were with the fellas we was fighting with”, who burned out the car, which he abandoned on the roadside.

Gerry McDonagh said that he received “great support” from motorists and passers-by during his two-day picket.

“People were offering to buy me coffee. I was after coming out of the radio station [Live 95FM] and one woman pulled up in a black BMW and asked me if I wanted money. I said ‘yeah, €24,000’”.

A spokesperson for AXA Insurance declined to comment.