Dublin woman suing for €60k after cutting knee on Wicklow Way
A Dublin housewife who has climbed to the Mount Everest base camp, is suing the Irish National Parks and Wildlife Service for €60,000 after a fall on the Wicklow Way.
Hill-walker Teresa Wall (59) said in the Circuit Civil Court that as the result of a laceration to her right knee she can no longer climb or run marathons.
The woman - who weekly ran a half-marathon as a hobby - said that she had to receive seven stitches to a gash to her knee after falling on a board-walk in the Wicklow Mountains National Park.
Ms Wall said that her foot snagged in a hole in one of a number of old railway sleepers that made up an EU ground conservation boardwalk just below the JB Malone memorial on the Sally Gap to Djouce trail.
The outcome of the case could have serious repercussions for the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The court heard that although there had been hundreds of falls over the years by walkers in the country's various national parks - many resulting in broken bones - this was the first in which the service had been sued for negligence and breach of duty.
Counsel for Ms Wall said the wooden walkway constituted "a structure" and the Occupiers Liability Act imposed a much higher duty of care on the Parks and Wildlife Service in the maintenance and management of such a development.
Kevin D'Arcy, counsel for the State Claims Agency, said Ms Wall had voluntarily participated in a unique rugged sporting activity of known reasonable risks and that the Parks and Wildlife Service was entitled to rely on the doctrine of volente non fit injuria (no wrong is done to one who consents).
Mr D'Arcy said the defendant denied negligence or breach of duty and, in the event of a finding against it, pleaded contributory negligence on the part of Ms Wall.
Ms Wall said on August 6, 2013, she and her husband were coming down the mountain after a 20-mile walk when they "obeyed the laws of the mountain" by following a sign that directed hikers onto the boardwalk.
She had fallen forward and lacerated her knee on a rusty nail.
Ms Wall - of Rathingle Cottages, Swords - said the boardwalk was in a disgraceful state. Old railway sleepers had been put on the mountain and left to rot.
She had been inhibited in her work and social enjoyment of life and was now no longer able to climb or run in marathons.
Enda Mullan, District Conservation Officer for the Wicklow Mountains National Park, said that in 20 years she had never had a complaint relating to any fall on the 130km Wicklow Way.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane reserved judgment.