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Insurer entitled to refuse €250k payout on life cover for slain Don

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Eamon Dunne

Eamon Dunne

Eamon Dunne

Irish Life was entitled to refuse to pay out on a €250,000 life insurance policy for murdered gang boss Eamon 'The Don' Dunne, the High Court has ruled.

The insurer had refused to pay over his failure to disclose drug and alcohol misuse and depression when taking out the policy.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Tony O'Connor dismissed proceedings brought by Dunne's partner Georgina Saunders against Irish Life.

He found Dunne was obliged to give details of his past drug and alcohol use and depression when he took out the policy with the insurer in 2008.

The policy required him to do so, the judge said.

There was nothing to lead the court to find that Dunne acted honestly when incorrect replies remained on the online questionnaire he filled out when applying for the policy, he said.

The judge said the insurer was not guilty of indolence or laziness when it considered Dunne's application for life cover. It had satisfactorily explained its process and how it was applied, he said.

The judge rejected a suggestion the insurer caused Dunne to believe he did not need to be accurate when giving details sought by the insurer.

Dunne (42) was shot six times in the head and back in April 2010 while attending a birthday party in a pub Cabra, Dublin.

He was linked to several gang murders, drug trafficking and was on bail awaiting trial at the time of his death for the robbery of a cash-in-transit van in Kildare.

The Irish Life insurance policy, costing €103-a-month, was taken out by Dunne and Ms Saunders two years before his death.

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The Fassaugh House Pub in Cabra where the gangland figure was shot six times. Photo: Arthur Carron/Collins

The Fassaugh House Pub in Cabra where the gangland figure was shot six times. Photo: Arthur Carron/Collins

The Fassaugh House Pub in Cabra where the gangland figure was shot six times. Photo: Arthur Carron/Collins

Ms Saunders, of Finglas, Dublin, claimed Irish Life failed to make payment wrongfully and in breach of the terms and conditions of the life insurance contract.

Irish Life denied the claims and had argued the policy was void by reason of non-disclosure of material facts in and about Dunne when the policy was taken out.

Abuse

In his judgment, Mr Justice O'Connor noted Ms Saunders's evidence where she said she did not witness him abusing drugs and alcohol and was unaware of his previous abuse until the insurer informed her in 2011 that it would not pay out.

He said the couple got together in 2007, and she said they took out the policy after Dunne enquired about taking out a mortgage with PTSB.

The judge was satisfied from the evidence that Ms Saunders was provided with information by the insurer when taking out the policy.

Ms Saunders told the court she had not read the policy terms.