12th May 2020
This week’s show was broadcast from the Ramelton office with some wide and varied areas covered. The initial focus was on the need for support, our contributor Seamus Gunn highlighting the approach being adopted by the insurance industry on refunds of premiums, particularly for car policy holders. Seamus Gunn expressed a strong view that it was totally inadequate to refund a policy holder some € 30.00, the sum announced midweek by two companies, which he described as minuscule in comparison to the profits being garnered annually by the industry from motorists. He gave the example of a premium for a young person averaging at around € 1,000.00 to € 1,200.00 against a backdrop where the level of claims is vastly reduced during this current 12 week Covid period, that there should be a commensurate reduction in keeping with the saving being achieved by the industry, to include premiums for public and occupier’s liability.
He said that this should go hand in hand with concessions on business interruption cover and that such claims should not be resisted where cover is in place, which could make the difference in a business reopening or remaining closed after the restrictions have been lifted. He said that this was in addition to all the government supports that are in place at the moment but that the insurance industry should now step up to the plate and show some largess in order to establish some good will with the consumers. He said that for too long they had been beating the drum of exaggerated and fraudulent claims which was constantly reported in the media with little emphasis on the profits, referring to 2017 when profits in excess of € 200 million were achieved. The position in the UK with regard to commercial rates being abolished for 2020 was also mentioned as an area that could be looked at by government but keeping in mind the cost to the exchequer. The insurance question and in particular the business interruption is likely to give rise to a lot more discussion before the Covid pandemic passes.
Seamus also answers the listeners’ questions regarding the strength of warranties in the sale of defective motor vehicles and the capital acquisitions tax thresholds applicable in gift/inheritance situations.
Listen to Part 1 of the interview here…
Listen to Part 2 of the interview here…
8th January 2020
High Court decision on brain damaged homeless man being held on remand in Mountjoy prison – Highland Radio Broadcast
In an early pre-Christmas Broadcast, the case of the brain damaged homeless man being held on remand in Mountjoy prison was highlighted following Mr. Justice Peter Kelly’s, the President of the High Court, directing papers to be served on the Minister for Justice, HSE, The Irish Prison Service and the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The unfortunate individual has been detained on remand for a period in excess of one year in the high dependency unit of Mountjoy in appallingly filthy conditions, pending allegations of assault against two security officers who approached him while sheltering in the women’s toilets of a Dublin shopping centre.
The policy of the prison that Wardens should not invade a prisoner’s personal space was commented on as there must be many more such prisoners who are deficient in their ability to maintain their personal care, a policy which Seamus Gunn thought should be reviewed in light of the court’s comments.
Further, what is striking about the case is that as far back as March 2019 following an assessment by a doctor, the accused was deemed unfit to plead so at that point it should have become clear that the case was not likely to go to Trial but the individual continued on remand. Seamus Gunn described it as “no man’s land”. The accused could not be discharged because he would be at risk and there were no facilities to cater for him. He suggested that bail hostels were not available for such cases and that statistics were not forthcoming as to the number of persons similarly affected. He said that this further highlighted the necessity for the assistant decision making capacity act of 2015 being implemented in full as there was a mechanism therein to short circuit wardship applications which it is understood is now being processed in this case which he said was the responsibility of the HSE. It is likely that a number of other such examples shall be forthcoming in the coming months to address this awful situation.
Listen to the full Highland Radio Interview Below