Fingal Co Council Sued by Motorcyclist Who Crashed into Crowd-Control Barrier
Fingal County Council is being sued in the High Court by a motorcycle driver who crashed into a crowd-control barrier, sustaining injuries, which he claims was placed on a road as part of a community festival by the event organisers.
57-year-old motorcyclist Des Kearns with an address at Wooddale Road, Rush, Co Dublin, is taking a legal action for compensation against Fingal County Council, event management company ALA Markets and Events Ltd, of Glasnevin, Dublin, and by order of the court, CFTB Rush Harbour Festival, the locally based volunteer organisers of the event.
In his action he claims that he sustained his injuries due to the negligence of the above named defendants. However, the defendants are refuting these claims and are arguing that Mr Kearns was guilty of contributory negligence as he was travelling at too great a speed and failed to maintain an adequate amount of caution.
When the accident occurred Mr Kearns was employed as a baggage handler at Dublin Airport. He sustained injuries including a fractured his elbow when he was thrown from his motorcycle in the collision with the 90cm high barrier as his was travelling to work on July 31 2016 at approximately 5am.
The plaintiff is alleging that the barrier, which was in place as part of the
Harbour Festival at Rush Co Dublin, was positioned in an oblique angle at the top of Kilbush Lane. Representing Mr Kearns in the High Court Declan Doyle SC, instructed by Stuart Gilhooly, informed Judge Justice Mary Rose Gearty that his client sustained serious and traumatic physical and psychological injury due to the accident.
Mr Doyle added that one of the consequences of the accident was that he was forced to leave his employment at Dublin Airport as a baggage handler due to the physical exertion involved.
His private life wa also impacted as he could no longer drive his motorcycle due to the pain his injuries caused when using the clutch. In addition he had been an enthusiastic amateur guitar player before the incident but now plays very little due to the pain he suffers from. Mr Kearns is married with a teenage daughter.
During the hearing Mr Kearns described how the accident unfolded. He said he clipped the barrier, which was placed on the road was at an angle, as he tried to to avoid it when he was navigating a bend. He was thrown into the air from his 600cc Kawasaki motorcycle. He added that he believed he was travelling at a speed of approximately 35kph when he appear to have struck the legs of the barrier.
Following the incident Mr Kearns was brought by ambulance to Beaumont Hospital for medical attention. He was was diagnosed with a fractured elbow which was placed in a plaster. He was advised to attend the hospital a few days later for a surgical procedure on his injured elbow.
Mr Kearns informed the Court that the pain in his elbow persisted and caused him sleep difficulties and anxiety. He attended a counsellor due to this psychological impact.
Due to the injuries he sustained he was unable to attend his job for 11 months. Upon returning to work he found his duties now involved heavy lifting which caused him great stress. When he made this clear to his employers, Swissport, they told him that they could only treat him the sames as his co-workers. Due to this he applied for, and was hired to, a role with Aer Lingus in airplane catering. He remained employed in this position until the advent of the COVID19 pandemic when his employment contract came to and end. He felt he was unable to return to the role, due to his injuries, when the role became available again in 2020.
When he was cross examined by Micheál Ó’Scanaill SC, represented Final Co Council, Mr Kearns said he did not accept that he was speeding or failing to maintain an adequate look out. He said he did not agree that the road barrier was clearly visible. He (Mr Kearns) also disagreed with David Nolan SC, legally representing Rush Harbour Festival defendant who put to him that, as suggested by the damage to the barrier shown in a photograph provided to the court, Mr Kearns must have been driving at “one hell of a speed” and “hit it at some whack”.
Mr Kearns responded saying: “I can guarantee you I was not speeding, you are trying to suggest I was speeding and I was not”.
The case continues.