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Mourner who fell into grave settles claim for damages

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Margaret Walsh was at her cousin’s funeral when she fell

Margaret Walsh was at her cousin’s funeral when she fell

CollinsPhotoAgency

Margaret Walsh was at her cousin’s funeral when she fell

A woman who fell into an open grave at a funeral as she sympathised with the chief mourner has settled a High Court action for damages.

Margaret Walsh (77) sued the undertakers, gravediggers and the council that owns the graveyard in Balgriffin, north Dublin. The defendants denied her claims of negligence.

Ms Walsh, of Connolly Park, Tralee, Co Kerry, was attending her cousin's funeral nearly nine years ago when she fell into the grave and allegedly hurt her back, arm, hip and neck.

She claimed that earth started coming in on top of her during the incident on September 3, 2011.

It was claimed that Ms Walsh had to spend 10 days in hospital and a consultant doctor noted she sustained multiple soft tissue injuries.

When the case came before Mr Justice Michael Hanna yesterday, he was told it had been settled.

The judge was told the case could be struck out against all parties with costs against all the defendants except the graveyard owners, Fingal County Council. The details of the settlement are confidential.

Dangerous

Ms Walsh had sued undertakers Allied Funeral Services, trading as Stafford and Jennings, of North Strand Road, Dublin, and Allied Funeral Services Ireland Ltd, of the same address; Fingal County Council; and gravediggers Paul Tierney and Martin Molloy, trading as Tierney Molloy, of Killeek, St Margaret's, Co Dublin.

She claimed she was allowed to walk near the open grave when the defendants ought to have known it was unsafe and dangerous for her to do so.

It was further claimed there was a failure to provide a secure foothold and to properly guard or fence the open grave.

She also claimed the open grave created a trap for her.

Ms Walsh claimed she was sore around the thoracic region and lower back and was stiff and restricted in her left shoulder after the accident.

Her cheeks were also sore and she had been struck in the face by her handbag as she fell.

It was claimed that Ms Walsh was extremely emotionally upset and embarrassed by the incident.