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Irish Injury Claims News

Scouting Body Feared Sexual Abuse Compensation Claims Could ‘Sink the Organisation’

Posted: May 18th, 2020

Former board chair of Scouting Ireland, Aisling Kelly, informed a room of senior volunteers from the organisation on December 10th, 2018, that there was a prospect of legal actions bring taken against the body in relation to “extensive, prolonged, and at times organised child sexual abuse”.

The them chair added that she feared such actions could “sink the organisation” if large numbers of abuse victims sought compensation from Scouting Ireland, the body that was formed from the merger of the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland (CBSI) and the Scout Association of Ireland in 2004.

Her fears were founded on reports of massive compensation pay outs in cases such as these. The Irish Times has reported that, in recent years a single confidential settlement agreement resulted in Scouting Ireland paying over €100,000 to a man who had claimed he was sexually abused when he was a member of the CBSI as a child. Scouting Ireland has put aside €2.5 million to cover the costs of legal claims and cases from survivors. It has also set up a support fund to pay for private counselling for survivors.

Last Thursday a report in an inquiry conducted by child protection expert Ian Elliott outlined a thorough analysis of the scale of the historic abuse at the scouting organisations and described how the act failed to act in the interests of the young children.

Following the release of the report, Scouting Ireland issued a public apology to the victims and the chair of the organisation Adrian Tennant claimed that Since learning of the abuse scandal Scouting Ireland had sought to “own” responsibility for facing up to the past failings.

The report detailed how the culture of the former organisations were rife with “cronyism” and a lack of adequate governance. The result of all of this was a failure to make cases of child abuse known to the relevant authorities. It (the report) referred to Scouting Ireland as a “seriously dysfunctional organisation”, with “sex offenders dominating the leadership for decades”.

It also found a “systematic failure” of the organisations to maintain adequate records of reports of alleged abuse allegations.

Following the publication of the report. the Government is now considering whether a statutory inquiry into the past abuse is necessary. The report accounted for 356 alleged victims of historical abuse, and 275 alleged perpetrators, who primarily operated between the 1960s and 1990s.

In other jurisdictions, abuse involving scouting organisations have lead to massive financial settlement. Last February (2020), the Boys Scouts of America began bankruptcy proceeding as a result of legal actions related to law for alleged child abuse.

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.

€22,000 Pharmacy Accident Damages Awarded to 2-Year-Old Boy

Posted: November 13th, 2019

Following suffering cut to hie eye on a pharmacy shelf a Co
Dublin two year-old boy has been awarded €22,000 personal injury compensation.

The court was told that Ross Pickering of Merrion Park, South Hill Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin, had been in Bradley’s Chemist with his mother on 14th July, 2014, when the accident in question happened.

Counsel for the Pickering family Barrister Samantha Cruess- Callaghan was representing the boy on the legal action he too via his mother Marie-Claire Greenan. She told the court that after the accident, Ross had been rushed to the Emergency Department of Crumlin Hospital for medical treatment.

The Judge was informed that physicians treated the cut on Ross’ right upper eyelid, measuring around three centimetres. The laceration had been cleaned using an antiseptic method and was found to be superficial. The child was reviewed again two weeks later to have his steri-strips taken, there was no bleeding or indications of infection to Ross’s injury at the time and the wound had healed properly. She stated that the child’s mother had been advised that if there had been any concerns nine months after the accident, then Ross could seek the opinion of a plastic surgeon.

During his one year-check up to review the cut to his eyelid with a Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon,  it was recorded that Ross had a scar measuring 1cm by 3mm above his right eye, slightly red in colour and visible from a close distance. His opinion had been that the scar had still been immature and would go on healing during the next 18 months when it would turn white in colour.

The boy’s family was taking the legal action against Siofra Limited and L’oreal (UK) Limited trading as La Roche Posay as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident.

On the day that the accident happened, the child had bent down to pick something up from the floor . However, when he had been getting back up he caught the lower of his right eye on a sharp item that was on a La Roche Posay display shelf.

Ms Cruess- Callaghan recommended the personal injury compensation settlement €22,000 that had been proposed. She stated that it was her belief that this figure represents the value of Ross’s case.

Judge O’ Connor gave his approval to the settlement proposal offered by Siofra Limited and L’oreal (Uk) Limited trading as La Roche Posay (third party).

Creche Bathroom Fall Results in €32,500 Offer for Young Boy

Posted: October 8th, 2019

Wee Care Limited, Monkstown, Co Dublin has agreed a €32,500 creche compensation settlement with the family of a two-year-old boy who fell and cut his left eyebrow. The award was approved at the Circuit Civil Court earlier today.

Legal representative for the boy’s family, barrister Samantha Cruess Callaghan, informed Judge John O’Connor that the bathroom accident took place when Lucas Murphy was cleaning his hands in a bathroom at the creche. Lucas, who is now seven, was using a small foot stool to stand on so he could reach the sink at a sink in question. He was standing on the footstool as he could not reach the sink. He lost his footing and, as he fell to the ground, he bashed his head on the bowl of the toilet.

Lucas, lives at Ashgrove, Kill Avenue, Dun Laoghaire took the creche injury compensation action, via father Darren Murphy,  against the owners of Wee Care Ltd, It was claimed that, due to their negligence. he fell and was left with a visible horizontal scar on his left eyebrow.

Lucas, was just two-and-a-half years old when the creche bathroom accident happened in October 2014 at the Wee Care Creche. The Judge was told that Lucas suffered a lot of of trauma as he was rushed to Tallaght Hospital, before being transferred to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital , Crumlin for treatment which included applying adhesive tape to the laceration.

After being treated Lucas had to attend three further review appointments at the day care unit of the hospital. On his last appointment in January 2015 it was found that his cut had successfully healed leaving a two-centimetre long laceration.

Wee Care Ltd made a personal injury child settlement offer of €32,500 damages which, the Judge was advised, Lucas’ parents felt was sufficient. However, Judge O’Connor informed them that it was a very reasonable offer and he gave his approval for it.

Suspension of Vaginal Mesh Device use to Continue – Minister

Posted: September 5th, 2019

Minister for Health Simon Harris has said that the suspension in Ireland of all surgical procedures involving these devices will continue until such time as the HSE implements 19 recommendations that were made by a report from the Chief Medical Officer in Ireland, Dr Tony Holohan, at the end of 2018.

Vaginal mesh devices were previously implemented in operations to address stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP); two conditions women can experience after natural childbirth or in their later years.

Dr Holohan’s report found that that the device (transvaginal mesh implants – TVMIs) used for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse should no longer thought of as safe or acceptable. He added that these devices should only now be used to address complex cases, where other treatment options have failed or are not sufficient.

In the United Kingdom one of the chief experts on the matter has said that he feels the devices are unsafe for the treatment of incontinence. Chartered chemist Dr Chris DeArmitt, who has helped over 9,000 women settle their compensation actions successfully, said that there is adequate research to support the use of mesh as a mid-urethral sling for stress urinary incontinence or as an abdominally placed mesh for management of prolapse.

During 2017 in Ireland a number of legal actions were submitted following the airing of new reports from the UK on legal actions in relation to suffering caused by the use of vaginal mesh to treat incontinence in that jurisdiction. The women involved, according to their legal representatives, had previously been unaware of any possible link between their health issues and the device.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) outlawed the sale and distribution of all mesh that was to be implemented in relation to pelvic organ prolapse in 2019. Over 100,000 people are taking a legal action in the United States in relation to injuries and illnesses that, they believe, arose due to the use of vaginal mesh.

Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health said: “Patient safety is our highest priority, and women must have access to safe medical devices that provide relief from symptoms and better management of their medical conditions.”

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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