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Personal Injury Compensation

Credit union must pay Disabled Man Awarded €7,500 For Credit Union Car Prize Draw Ban

Posted: August 4th, 2021

A Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) ruling has awarded a man with an intellectual disability €7,500 after being the subject of discrimination when he was not allowed to enter a car-draw.

WRC Adjudicator Brian Dalton directed Co Cavan Link Credit Union Ltd to pay €7,500 to Matthew Reilly after issuing a ruling that he was discriminated against on the grounds of his disability under the Equal Status Act. In addition to this Link Credit Union was direct to permit Mr Reilly, with his mother Martina’s permission, enter the car draw in future.

A complaint was made to the WRC after Link Credit Union informed Mr Reilly, following legal advice, that it would not be appropriate to take the €60 annual car draw payment in November 2018 from him. The reasoning behind this was that Mr Reilly would not be able to use the car if he won it in the draw.

As he has a mental disability and is unable to provide informed consent, Mr Reilly delegated authority to his mother, Martina so that she would be able to act in his interests concerning his credit union account. Since Mr Reilly’s account was initially opened in 1993 his Martina had been looking after her son’s interests concerning his credit union account.

In the WRC hearing Mrs Reilly claimed that her son was the victim of discrimination due to his disability and was being dealt with unfairly as other entrants to the draw are not required to prove that they can enter the prize draw.

The draw in question takes place every two months. Mr Dalton stated that it is not a reasonable course of action to treat Mr Reilly differently to other credit union members who have a different disability – or none – regard to the fact that Mr Reilly’s best interests are safeguarded due to the representation of his mother.

The WRC adjudicator said that Mr Reilly’s mother was approved by the credit union board to act on Matthew’s behalf and added that Mr Reilly is over 18 and previously been allowed to enter the draw.

In the ruling it was stated that, while the initial basis not to allow Mr Reilly to enter the draw was made as a result of his incapacity to drive, this was later added to with reference to a broader regulatory framework and fiduciary duty.

However, the ruling went on to say, if Mr Reilly was to win the car in the draw, he could be driven in the car or sell it for a profit the same as any other member of the Credit Union could.

The draw is run on a non-profit basis and creates a pot of money that pays for the prizes. The draw is run as a service for members’ benefit.

HSE Settles with Family of Talented Musician who Died by Suicide

Posted: May 22nd, 2021

The relatives of Alec Rea, a young musician who died by suicide, have settled a High Court action with the Health Service Executive (HSE) in relation to the manner of his death.

A €200,00 settlement was agreed with his family in relation to the nervous shock they sustained. Additionally there was no admission of liability.

The agreed settlement, which includes a statutory solatium mental distress payment of €35,000, was approved by Justice Kevin Cross. The Judge said it was a very tragic case and the judge passed on his condolences to the Rea family.

A statement from the family was read out in court which described Alec as an exceptionally talented young musician. When he died, Alec was just 24-years-old and was expected to sign a record deal with an American producer in the near future. Sean Rea and Loren Rea of Priestown, Carndonagh, Co Donegal, had sued the HSE for nervous shock over the death of their son on February 3, 2016.

The statement said that the family wanted to make it clear to those with mental health difficulties should urgently seek help and support they need and families should be listened to and safeguards established to ensure adequate follow-up.

The court was advised that Alec had come home from a music festival following being praised by a US record producer for his talent. Despite this he entered a state of deep depression and lost all interest in music during October 2015. The Judge was informed that Mr Rea had first initially shown symptoms that he was suffering with depression as early as 2008 when he was aged 16.

He was prescribed with a course of medication for his depression during December 2015 and, following another review during January 2016, he was admitted to the mental health unit of Letterkenny General Hospital for a full psychiatric assessment and treatment.

He was referred to a social worker, after a medical professional A medic reviewed his prescription, in order to put in place a plan to support Mr Rea at his home. This plan was to include the use of recreational and training opportunities.

As she was concerned regarding his mental state, on January 22 2016 Alec Rea’s mother arranged an appointment with the mental health services. However, Mr Rea did not attend the meeting in question.

After being seen by another social worker on January 29, 2016, his mother claims, she got in touch with Buncrana Mental Health Services everyday to make them aware of Alec’s family’s worry in relation of what might happen if he was not assessed as soon as possible.

After a potential appointment was set up for early February was cancelled on the morning that it was due to take place Alec’s family was informed that a new appointment would be arranged. The court was told that Alec was extremely distraught. The next day he commited suicide.

The court was informed that Alec’s parents continue to experience post-traumatic stress disorder due to their son’s death.

Footgolf Injury Leads to €16,000 Compensation Award for Amateur Goalie

Posted: September 11th, 2020

A toe injury sustained while playing footgolf has resulted in a €16,000 personal injury compensation award for an amateur goalkeeper at the Circuit Civil Court.

The legal action was taken by Stuart O’Dwyer of Glenhill Avenue, Finglas, Dublin 11, against Simon Rutledge of the White House pub restaurant, New Park, The Ward, Co Dublin in relation to the injury he sustained when
his right foot struck a metal stake which was hidden by long grass just off the 10th green at Mr Rutledge’s course.

Mr O’Dwyer, Leinster Senior League goalkeeper for Glasnevin FC, informed the Judge John O’Connor that he suffered the injury when he was trying to kick the ball out of the rough in a round of footgolf with his father on June 14, 2018.

The court was informed by Mr O’Dwyer’s legal representative, Barrister Laurence Masterson, that Mr Rutledge was not defended the claim. He added that judgment had been marked by the County Registrar against Mr Rutledge in the absence of an appearance in the case.

On the day of the game with his father he had kicked the ball off the 10th tee into very long grass. As he attempted to kick the ball onto the green his foot struck the metal spike that had been firmly placed in the ground and which was hidden by the grass.

Due to the collision with the spike, Mr O’Dwyer’s big toe was injured and he attended the emergency department of James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Blanchardstown afterwards. Here he was diagnosed a soft-tissue injury by
consultant in emergency medicine Dr JA McKeever.

The court was informed that Mr O’Dwyer, an amatuer goalkeeper in the Leinster Senior League with Glasnevin FC, had lost the nail on his big toe and he has a slight deformity in the shape of a small lump on the toe after the nail had grown back. In addition to this he had experienced extensive pain, discomfort and bruising in his toe. In the hospital his toe had been splinted with a buddy strap in the hospital where he had been provided with crutches.

Judge O’Connor said he felt compensation would fall in at the lower end of the Circuit Court jurisdiction and, as such, awarded Mr O’Dwyer €16,000 personal injury compensation legal costs against Mr Rutledge who was not in court, nor legally represented.

Compensation of €71,770 Awarded to Grandmother who Broke Ankle 2 Front Teeth in Petrol Station

Posted: July 15th, 2020

At the High Court €71,770 personal injury compensation has been awarded to a woman who broke her two front teeth and fractured her ankle in a petrol station fall.

Grandmother Mary Delaney crossing the garage forecourt while holding some groceries when she stubbed her toe on a lip of tarmacadam and fell to the ground.

At the hearing Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon on Thursday found that incorrect workmanship was to blame for the accident. She said that the fall happened as a result of the placing of an excessive depth of material in a patched area. This created a definite tripping hazard in the guise of a 14 millimetre height difference.

The woman in question, Ms Delaney, Castlecomer Road, Kilkenny, took the personal injury compensation action against Circle K Ireland Energy Group Ltd, formerly Topaz due to her accident at the Topaz Filling Station, Castlecomer Road, Kilkenny, on May 20,2017.

During the hearing Ms Delaney told the Judge that she had on a pair of black laced shoes at the time of the accident. She added that her face was black and blue afterwards and she had to use a straw to drink liquids in the weeks after the accident happened. She sustained a fracture ankle and has not retained 100% movement in her left foot and suffers from stiffness as a result of the accident. In addition to this she had to undergo paid nine visits to the dentist for damage she sustained to her teeth.

The Judge said that Ms Delaney came across as a credible witness and a
‘a reasonable person’ who did not exaggerate her symptoms in any way.

The defendant in the legal action, Circle K, argued that the changing gradient was gradual rise and not ‘lipped’.

The judge said she did not accept thethis argument saying: “It is reasonably foreseeable that a person such as Ms Delaney would suffer such an accident in these circumstances as there was a lack of reasonable care in the reinstatement of the pavement”.

Ms Justice O’Hanlon, who accepted that this was “an acrimonious case”, granted Circle K’s application for a stay in the event of an appeal providing €35,000 and costs are paid out to Ms Delaney at once.

Alleged Inappropriate Passenger Treatment Leads to Aer Lingus Compensation Claim

Posted: April 17th, 2020

In the United States a passenger who was travelling on Aer Lingus is alleging that she was injured and mistreated in an incident that occurred just prior to departure and has filed a legal action in relation to this.

In the lawsuit that was submitted Mary Oshana claims that Aer Lingus flight crew physically removed her, using force, from the cabin toilet and dragged her back to the assigned seat while her pants remained below her knees while her buttocks and genitalia were visible to the people on the flight. In addition to this she states that she sustained a hip injury.

A resident of Skokie IL, Ms Oshana, claims she was dealt with “unreasonably, carelessly, and negligently” by Aer Lingus flight crew. Due to this a complaint was filed in District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in connection with the events that took place just before a flight from Chicago to Dublin took off on April 26, 2018.

The claim says that, as it taxied from the departure gate at O’Hare International Airport, the flight came a halt and stood in place on the tarmac for around 30 minutes prior to moving to the runway for take-off. Ms Oshana, during this delay, went to use the toilet. She claims that, 20 seconds after entering the toilet, she became aware that one or more individuals were banging on the door.

These individuals advised here that she must return to her assigned seat. She told these people that she would do as they wished “in just a minute”
as she was seated on the toilet with her pants down.

The claims says that two Aer Lingus flight attendants “broke through the lavatory door, pulled her up by her arms, dragged her to her seat while her pants were underneath her knees, and flung her with considerable force into the armrest and seat. Due to this physical action, Ms Oshana says she sustained “pain and bruising in her hip, thighs and buttocks.”

Ms Oshana’s legal team allege that the incident falls under the terms of the Montreal Convention, a treaty agreed in relation to damages for victims of incidents on airlines. Aer Lingus have not released any statement in connection with the series of events that are listed in the claim submitted.

The personal injury hearing is pencilled in to be heard at a siting during June this year.

Creche Assault Trial Underway at High Court

Posted: February 25th, 2020

In Leinster, a 29-year-old male is on trial in relation to the sexual assault of four girls at the creché where he was employed.

It is alleged that the man, on dates between February 2015 and December 2016, assault the group of girls 23 times. The individual in question had entered a plea of not guilty in relation to the accusations that have been registered by the girls who were aged between five and eight-years-old at the time of the assault.

The man has been accused of ten counts of sexual assault in relation to the first girl, eight in relation to the second girl, three in relation to the third and two in relation to the fourth. The offences are all alleged to have occurred in different places at the crèche and on a bus owned by the
crèche .

In order to protect the identities of the children involved, the man’s name and details of the location of the crèche cannot be reported by the media.

Prosecuting Counsel Orla Crowe said the man was first employed to work in the kitchen of the crèche in 2013. However, not long later he began working with after-school children.

In December 2016 was was let go from his position as he had not attained the level of childcare qualification required by legislation.

The man’s job involved bringing children to school in the early mornings and collecting them after school ended. As an additional duty he supervised the older after-school children in the afternoons.

Ms Crowe said an allegation of sexual misconduct against the man was first made on 12 December 2016 when one of the young girls informed another child who, in turn, advised a staff member. At this point in time the child’s parents were made aware of the situation and the gardaí who kicked off an official investigation.

The court was informed that the children would be available to be cross-examined by the defence using a video link, and videos of interviews, conducted by specialist garda interviewers, were recorded in January 2017 and will be shown to the court during the trial. The jury was told they would also hear from the children’s parents and the specialist garda interviewers.

The accusations were as follows:

  • The first girl was allegedly sexually assaulted on a number of occasions between September 2015 and June 2016 when she was seven and eight-years-old. The assaults are said to have taken place in the after-school room, on the school bus and in the crèche toilet.
  • The man is has been accused in relation to eight sample counts of assault on the second girl who was aged between five and six-years-old during the attacks.
  • At the time of their assaults the third and fourth girls in question were eight years old.

The court was told that the proprietor of the crèche where the man was employed said the man had no qualification in child care when he started work but had begun his official training. This was in line with the company policy on employment and the man had completed a one-day child safeguarding workshop.

Speaking about the man’s suitability for the role the proprietor said that she felt it would be good to have a male role model in the crèche and he was attempting to become properly qualified, albeit slowly.

The woman added that, as legislation had changed and anyone working in a crèche after 31 December 2016 had to have a FETAC level 5 qualification, the man had been aware that he would not be able to continue his employment because he did not have this qualification.

On 12 December 2016 she was in the office when a staff member came to her and informed her that one of the after school students had advised another child that she had kissed the man in the privates and then laughed.

She told the court that she was certain was course of action to follow after being told this in case it was merely a case of children being fanciful and talking about such matters. She spoke to the parents of the children involved and the following day a father of one of the girls informed her he was going to contact the gardaí in relation to the incident.

Due to this she contacted the man and informed him that he was be suspended from his role as there was a serious allegation made against him. Following this the gardaí came to the crèche that afternoon with a warrant and retrieved footage from the CCTV system.

The trial, which is expected to last around three weeks, will continue next Monday.

Man Awarded €75k Compensation for Broken Jaw Assault

Posted: January 2nd, 2020

A personal injury compensation award of €75,000 has been made to a man who had his jaw broken in an assault.

Sligo Circuit Court was told last week that the victim, Christopher Flynn,
was taking the legal action against Niall Clancy of of Kingsfort, Ballintogher, Sligo following an incident that occurred at Dun na Rí, Ballintogher on November 2nd 2014.

Judge Francis Comerford was advised that Mr Flynn was heading home from a bar in Ballintogher with a row took place with Clancy. In an earlier District Court it was alleged that “comments” had been made and Mr Flynn was assaulted. In the subsequent assault Mr Flynn was left with a badly injured jaw and suffering a lot of pain.

The court was informed that Mr Flynn was brought to Sligo University Hospital for treatment where x-rays confirmed a fracture of the left mandible and right parasymphyseal region. He was then moved to Altmagelvin Hospital in Derry for further treatment.

At Altnagelvin on November 10th the plaintiff, still suffering from ongoing numbness in the right lower lip and chin, was informed that it could take several months to resolve and was also told of the risk of permanent numbness. He was also advised to remain on a soft diet for over a month.

Subsequently, in April 2016, he attended he local GP due to intermittent pain on the left side of his jaw and chin especially during cold weather. His jaw locked occasionally when he yawned and he was unable to fully open his mouth and he found chewing difficult at times as his facial muscles hurt when chewing. Additionally, he was left with a permanent scar on the left side of his face and had to grow a beard to conceal it.

He experienced some difficult with speech and this caused him additional stress due to constantly thinking about the incident. To deal with this he was prescribed anti-anxiety medication. Medical experts said that the plaintiff’s facial pain, numbness and reduced function would be slow to resolve and may even persist. Mr Flynn had a licence to perform a security job but due to the facial injuries he was unable to pursue this which added to his stress.

Judge Comerford awarded the plaintiff €75,000 in damages plus costs.

City Car Park Trip Compensation of €44k for Young athlete (15)

Posted: December 18th, 2019

€44,000 cap park accident compensation has been award to a prominent young athlete at the Circuit Civil Court after she broke a bone in her right foot

The injury to Sophia Crawford went unnoticed for a number of weeks and the girl had the agony of walking for weeks on an undetected broken bone.

Legal representative for the 15-year-old girl Crawford, Barrister Breffni Gordon, informed presiding Judge John O’Connor that an x-ray of her foot had been completed after the accident that occurred in Drury Street Car Park in Dublin in 2016. However, the scan had not identified any bone injury.

Mr Gordon told the court that Sophia had been taken by her father Gerard Crawford to Royal Bahrain Hospital while on holiday following complaints of further pain. During a subsequent MRI scan it was discovered that she had a fractured fifth metatarsal in her right foot.

Child Consultant Antoinette D’Alton submitted a medical saying that Sophia had experienced a massive amount of suffering due to the accident which occurred when she tripped on an open drain shore at the Drury Street Car Park. Through her mother Amanda Crawford, Sophia took a legal action against Park Rite, owners and operators of Drury Street Multi-Storey Car Park in Dublin’s city centre.

Mr Gordon told the judge that said Sophia was a prominent athlete and had played hockey and tennis for her school and was also participating in sailing.

He informed Judge O’Connor that the Personal Injuries Board had assessed her claim for compensation at €43,763 and he was advising that the court accept the offer made by the car park’s insurance providers.

Following this Judge O’Connor approved the settlement with costs in favour of the claimant.

Data Protection Commission Report: State retained Data related to PSC ‘illegally’

Posted: August 19th, 2019

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) has made public the results of a study into the retention of information gathered of information during the application process for the Public Services Card (PSC) by the State which has deemed the practice was illegal.

The DPC revealed that PSC application scheme does not adhere with the transparency requirements of the data protection acts due to the amount of information that is provided by Department of Social Welfare applicants who have their private data processed. The data that the Department is holding on more than three million card holders must now be destroyed and the practice of data processing (by the Department) must be stopped within three weeks to avoid any potential sanctions being applied.

The DPC released a statement which read”Ultimately, we were struck by the extent to which the scheme, as implemented in practice, is far-removed from its original concept,” the DPC said in a statement published on its website.

“Whereas the scheme was conceived as one that would make it easier to access (and deliver) public services, with chip-and-pin type cards being used for actual card-based transactions, the true position is that no public sector body has invested in the technology capable of reading the chip that contains the encrypted elements of the Public Sector Identity dataset. Instead, the card has been reduced to a limited form of photo-ID, for which alternative uses have then had to be found.”

Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon also commented on the controversy saying: “The whole idea of the Public Services Card is that the Minister only issues one after a ‘Safe2’ process, which involves a face to face interview, bringing along identity documentation you already have and supporting documentation like utility bills, proof of address and so on.”

Following its introduction the PSC was used for the processing of social welfare payments. Subsequent to this it was a requirement in the for applying for a range of other services including  first-time adult passport applicants, replacement of lost, stolen or damaged passports issued before January 2005, where the person is resident in the State, citizenship applications, driving test and driver licence appointments.

The scandal does not mean that the PSC will no longer be valid for all of these services. Dixon said: “The Department is retaining [this] indefinitely. So we have said if identity is authentication, such that the Minister is satisfied to issue the public services card, then there is no basis for retaining indefinitely all of that [utility bills, ID proofs etc]. It seems to defy the logic of the card.”

“Any cards that have been issued, their validity is not in question by anything we’ve found in this report,” she said. “They can continue to be used in the context of availing of free travel or availing of benefits that a person is claiming from the department.”

Civil society groups including Digital Rights Ireland, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty, Age Action objected to its introduction are said to be thinking about submitting a class-action style case in relation to this data breach.

On its official Twitter account Digital Rights Ireland greeted the report stating: “We welcome @dpcireland’s observation that the PSC morphed from a cryptographic token designed to enhance security for citizens, into a photo id card with no particular purpose, but for which various alternative uses had to be found to justify its existence. We note that @welfare_ie tried its best to use spin, expensive PR campaigns, and hectoring of newsrooms to provide a basis for the PSC. They had to, because there was no legal basis, and limited political support.”

There is a good chance that there will be other compensation claims submitted in relation to this in the coming weeks and months.

Creche Scandal Compensation Claims likely following Hyde & Seek Revelations

Posted: July 25th, 2019

Dublin-based childcare group Hyde and Seek are bracing themselves for coming creche scandal compensation claims, government agency investigations and criminal convictions after an RTE Investigates report uncovered multiple cases of child maltreatment and breaches of childcare management legislation.

The report showed a range of illegal and unprofessional work practices in the four crechés owned and operated by the group. Ahead of the airing of the show one of the owners of Hyde and Seek, Anne Davy, has stepped down from frontline work with immediate effect.

This is not the first time that Ms Davy has found herself answering for breaches of childcare legislation as she was convicted in 2004 after her staff left a three-year-old boy on his own at a local playground. Following this, in 2007, she was convicted for breaching child care requirements including child to adult ratios and failing to keep adequate records. Following these convictions Davy’s company changed name on three separate occasions.

As part of the report, two undercover childcare workers were sought employment at crèches managed by the Hyde and Seek chain for RTÉ Investigates. They discovered serious violations of legislation, best childcare practice and required safety procedures. Child Protection Agency Tusla had completed 11 inspections at the facilities since September 2017 and, despite passing these reviews, children were being badly treated and place at serious risk in the event of fire.

Babies were seen to be left in high chairs for considerable periods of time which lead to them to becoming very stressed. One child was placed by themself in a room with the door closed due to perceived bad behaviour. The reporters also recorded incidents of poor food quality and inappropriate staff to child ratios.

This was only the beginning as it was seen that new staff, including one of the undercover reporters, was allowed to begin employment before they were appropriately Garda vetted. Sleeping conditions were another area of some worry as infants were placed to sleep on bouncers and there was not enough space between the cots to allow child care staff monitor the children.

Tusla issued a statement saying: “We recognise and share the serious concerns the programme raises about the quality of care within these crèches, but more importantly the impact of concerning adult behaviours on children.” The body will review the case and apply sanction up to and including criminal prosecutions and removing Hyde & Seek creches from the childcare register.

The Hyde & Seek group release a public statement commiting to their efforts to improve their practices. It said: “We know we need to work to rebuild, retain and enhance the trust our parents have in us. We have spoken to many of them in recent days and would urge others with concerns to contact us. We are available to talk to and meet parents at any time. We note that while the programme made criticisms of aspects of our service, it praised our childcare staff whose dedication, professionalism and kindness are central to the care we provide.”

Speaking in relation to the incident, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “I think I speak for everybody in the country when I say that I was really appalled by what we saw on Prime Time in relation to the way that children were treated,” said Mr Varadkar in Donegal tonight. And I know that a lot of parents dropping their kids off to crèche or to preschool this morning must have been that little bit more worried or that little bit more nervous than they would be normally.”

It is likely that the Hyde and Seek group will now be facing a number of creche scandal compensation claims from parents and guardians of the children who were attending the Hyde and Seek crechés.

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