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GAA fan traumatised by hotel raid as he slept is given €10,000 damages

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Patrick Joseph Fahy at court

Patrick Joseph Fahy at court

CollinsPhotoAgency

Patrick Joseph Fahy at court

A Tyrone GAA fan who was burgled as he slept in a Dublin hotel has been awarded €10,000 damages for psychological injuries he suffered in the raid.

Patrick Joseph Fahy (75), a retired solicitor, told Circuit Civil Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke it took him two years to recover from the after-effects of the trauma.

Mr Fahy, of Creaghmore Road, Drumquin, Omagh, Co Tyrone, was in Dublin in July 2016 for a Tyrone-Mayo quarter-final and had booked in to the North Star Hotel in Amiens Street.

After dinner and two glasses of wine in the city on the Saturday night he had retired to his sixth-floor bedroom.

"It was a very warm July evening so I left a patio door slightly ajar from my room on to a balcony at the rear of the hotel before going to sleep," Mr Fahy told his counsel Kevin Byrne, who appeared with Michael Devlin solicitors.

He said that when he awoke on the Sunday morning he found his trouser pockets had been rifled and his belongings strewn around the room.

About €150 and his mobile phone were missing, as well as his ticket to the match.

Mr Fahy told Mr Byrne he "was very shook and got physically sick" and had been unable to contact any friends because of the loss of his phone.

Ticket

The hotel had given him €120 and when gardai arrived they told him they would find another match ticket for him.

As it happened he got a better ticket than the one that had been stolen.

Mr Fahy said he had met some Tyrone friends at the match and had felt somewhat better afterwards.

But in the weeks following the incident he had become very upset. It had kept going through his mind what might have happened to him had he been woken by the burglar in his room.

"I was glad I wasn't aware of what was happening around me," he said. "I remained upset and annoyed for a considerable period afterwards."

Mr Fahy, who sued BC McGettigan Limited, which trades as the North Star Hotel, for damages of up to €60,000, said he visited his GP and had been prescribed tablets aimed at lessening the stress and upset.

He had also availed of counselling for trauma but said it was a full two years before he had fully recovered.

Judge Groarke said Mr Fahy had felt safe enough six floors up to leave his balcony door ajar on a warm night but had been unaware the balcony was shared with six or seven other bedrooms.

Warning

Awarding Mr Fahy €10,200 damages, the judge said the court was satisfied the criminal had gained access to his bedroom by way of the shared balcony.

He said Mr Fahy had been given no warning it was a shared facility. A warning sign had since been attached to the balcony door.

In the game, Tyrone were beaten by Mayo by a single point - 0-12 to 0-13.


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