WATCH: 'We will continue to fight these claims' - CCTV shows man 'slipping' in Supermac's after photographing wet floor
SUPERMAC'S founder Pat McDonagh has revealed there are currently 73 personal injury claims pending against outlets across the country - and has vowed to defend those he believes to be exaggerated.
Mr McDonagh, an outspoken critic of Ireland's 'compo culture', has released CCTV of a recent incident where a customer photographed a wet bathroom floor and then appears to stage a fall at a branch in the midlands last October.
In November, Supermac's received a solicitor's letter advising how the man in question intended to bring a personal injury claim.
"We are instructed by our client that he was caused to fall due to the condition of the floor of the men's toilets in your premises and as a consequence thereof suffered injuries, loss and damage," the letter reads.
CCTV recorded shows the man walking into the bathroom and photographing an area of the ground covered in the water.
He then leaves the bathroom, returns around 15 minutes later and can be seen corresponding with someone before he appears to slip and fall.
The man can be seen grabbing his head and knocking on the door looking for assistance in the footage.
Towards the end of the video, he wriggles forward and continues to lie on the ground.
The solicitor representing the claimant said they have requested to view the CCTV footage and it has not yet been furnished and they will consult with their client on the matter.
Mr McDonagh hit out at how claims like this are allowed make it before the courts and said there is no incentive to defend them as "even if you win, you lose".
No formal proceedings have yet been issued, but the Supermac's CEO said he is already paying the price for the initial legal letter.
"Even at this early stage there will be a cost as once an incident happens you are required to notify the insurance company. And no matter what the outcome is it will have an impact on your premium.
"If we didn't have CCTV in our branches, a lot of claims that we ended up winning would likely have been settled by our insurance company."
Despite racking up hefty legal bills, Mr McDonagh says he will continue to fight spurious claims.
The self-made businessman has previously defended the decision to install cameras in the bathrooms of Supermac's bathrooms.
"We are safeguarding our own business. The camera is never in a compromising position. There is absolutely no fear of anyone's privacy being violated. The videotapes are there to act as a deterrent."
The Galway man has also enlisted the help of private investigators to defend claims.
A woman who claimed she suffered "possible PTSD" and stopped eating in restaurants after she allegedly found a thumbtack in her chips - dropped a personal injuries case against Supermac's after footage emerged of her dining in a hotel.
She took legal action after eating in the Carrick-on-Suir branch in February 2016.
The claimant proceeded to Tipperary Circuit Court but withdrew the case after the defence declared it had video footage of her eating a carvery at the Carraig Hotel in Carrick-on-Suir in October 2017 - over two months before she swore an affidavit claiming she could no longer eat in restaurants.
"The fall guy ends up being the taxpayer," Mr McDonagh said.