Pothole fury: Council says it won't pay

September 11th, 2018 10:10 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Deep: the Gaggin pothole.

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A GOOD Samaritan who came to the aid of another motorist outside Bandon last January, has been told by Cork County Council’s insurers that he cannot claim for the damage done to his car by the famous ‘Gaggin’ pothole.

Eoghan Hennessy from Clonakilty was one of several motorists who damaged their cars after hitting the enormous pothole at Gaggin on Friday evening, January 19th, in torrential rain. 

Gardai were called to the scene for traffic management, as many drivers had to pull in to change their tyres. 

It cost Eoghan €125 to repair his wheel, but his claim has been denied. 

‘The thing that has annoyed me most is that by August I still had heard nothing back from IPB Insurance. They had written to me in March to tell me my claim for €125 was under review and it was only on the back of me chasing it up with the Council that the road engineer’s report was finally sent over to IPB,’ Eoghan claimed.

The Council has said it can’t be held responsible for all the potholes on the roads in Cork.

 ‘It’s the flippancy of their reply then that annoyed me the most – with the defence of  ‘nonfeasance’ and that there are thousands of kilometres of road network in the charge of Cork County Council and they cannot be expected to know about all the defects, so my claim was declined.’

Following the reply from IPB Insurance, Eoghan wrote back to argue that Cork County Council would have had to be aware of the pothole at Gaggin in the time leading up to the incidents. He also asked about an appeals process. He hasn’t had a response yet.

Eoghan said he is more annoyed about the lack of action on the report – now six months down the line. He feels the reply from IPB was a ‘generic’ reply that they send out for every county.

Another motorist, Liadian O’Driscoll, who hit the same pothole that evening, told The Southern Star that she, too, filled out a pothole claim form at the time. 

She put in a claim for €140 for damage to her wheel and she was only told in recent weeks that her claim was also being declined.

Both motorists are curious to know if any other claims, arising out of the same pothole incident, were successful.

In a statement to The Southern Star this week, Cork County Council said the delay in responding to Mr Hennessy was due to the ‘unprecedented increase’ in claims sent into the Council, due to the bad weather last winter.

It also claimed that Mr Hennessy would have been told how to appeal a decision. ‘All claimants are informed of the appeals process when the IPB decision is communicated to the claimant,’ it said.

The Council added: ‘The offending pothole in this instance was a recently formed pothole arising out of normal wear and tear on the road, and had not been previously reported, and therefore not repaired by our roads crews at the time. In those circumstances the defence of nonfeasance is available to Cork County Council.’

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