Tuesday 20 August 2019

Hospitality group has 'compo culture' in its sights

Ewan MacDonald
Ewan MacDonald
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A hospitality group has established a dedicated risk department and invested in top-quality CCTV to help fight spurious compensation claims.

Michael JF Wright Hospitality Group runs a number of bars, restaurants and food halls across Dublin and in an effort to tackle frivolous claims, the company has set up a risk department headed by an ex-garda.

Earlier this year, the Wright Group made the decision to shut the Wright Venue nightclub in Swords, north Dublin.

A major factor in the decision to close the club was the spiralling insurance costs incurred.

The premium was a hefty six-figure sum and, this week, the club was in the Circuit Civil Court defending a claim after a customer broke her ankle in the bathroom a number of years ago.

Chief operations officer of Michael JF Wright Hospitality Group, Ewan McDonald, said it was determined to tackle Ireland's "compo culture".

"We weren't negligent in any way. It's a shame she broke her ankle and we wouldn't wish that on any of our patrons, but accidents happen and they always happen, but that doesn't mean it's always the licensee's fault," he said.

The woman's claim was dismissed in court on Monday and costs awarded against her.

For the Wright Group, this is just one incident of many across its various businesses.

"In our case we have a HR and risk department that we've set up so we are lucky we can afford to have a risk department monitoring all our premises. We have to make sure everything that can be done to safeguard our patrons is being done," said Mr McDonald. "Due to the fact we have CCTV and good procedures, we are fighting every claim that comes to us.

"We won't pay out if we have done nothing wrong."

Irish Independent

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