Tuesday 25 October 2016

Boy (12) offered €3k 'for €30k gash to his leg'

Mum Ita Patton outside court
Mum Ita Patton outside court

A schoolboy whose leg was gashed by glass on a public green area near his home was offered all-in damages of €3,000 "for what amounted to a €30,000 in- jury", the Circuit Civil Court has been told.

Barrister Pat Purcell, for Harry Ryan (12), said Judge James O'Donohoe had refused last week to accept the settlement offer made by Fingal County Council and had put the matter back for further talks with the local authority.

Mr Purcell told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that the offer had been increased by only €500. When legal costs were deducted from the €3,500 overall offer, Harry would be left with only €2,000.

The court heard that in November 2012, Harry, of River Valley Road, Swords, slipped and lacerated his right lower leg on broken glass embedded in the green. He had sued Fingal County Council through his mother, Ita Patton.

Mr Purcell said Harry had been taken to the VHI Swift Care Clinic at Airside, Swords, and given a local anaesthetic while eight stitches, together with a number of steri-strips, were inserted in "a gaping wound".

The steri-strips had been necessary to secure a flap of flesh on Harry's leg.

Mr Purcell said that in considering the offer, he was conscious of Mr Justice Bernard Barton's High Court judgment in a similar case that had been dismissed against South Dublin County Council.

In that case, the court ruled that the expense and burden on a local authority in protecting members of the public from dangers on open green spaces, created by anti-social or miscreant behaviour through discarding broken bottles, would be nothing short of immense, impracticable and intolerable.


Judge Barton had ruled that anti-social behaviour was unlikely to be affected by the erection of notices or placement of rubbish bins, and it would be unrealistic and unreasonable to expect the local authority to inspect thousands of acres of open green spaces more than once or at best twice a week.

Fingal County Council has entered a full defence denying any liability in the case.

Judge Groarke inspected Harry's scarred leg and said he would agree with Mr Purcell that, if successful, the damages should amount to €30,000.

He adjourned the case for another week to facilitate consideration of whether it would be a reasonable risk to fight the case at full trial.

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