Tuesday 25 October 2016

Ambulance worker 'almost collided with Ryanair plane on runway at Dublin Airport'

Saurya Cherfi

Published 11/10/2016 | 12:48

Roselyn O’Neill (43) pictured leaving the Four Courts after the opening day of her Circuit Civil Court action for damages.Pic: Collins Courts
Roselyn O’Neill (43) pictured leaving the Four Courts after the opening day of her Circuit Civil Court action for damages.Pic: Collins Courts

A Dublin Airport ambulance worker, who alleged she suffered psychological injuries when her ambulance almost collided with a Ryanair plane, has settled a €60,000 damages claim in the Circuit Civil Court against the Irish Aviation Authority.

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Last week, Roselyn O’Neill (43) told the court that on 14 July 2013, she had been given clearance to drive across a runway when she saw the plane taking off only metres from her.

O’Neill, of Beaverstown Orchard, Donabate, Co Dublin, said that air traffic control, which is managed by the Irish Aviation Authority, had given her permission to cross the airfield.

She had told her barrister, Paul Andrew Gallagher, that the air traffic controller had only told her to hold her position after she had already slammed on the ambulance brakes, shouting through her radio that she was stopping her vehicle.

The court had heard that that if she had continued driving, she would have just passed the back of the 35m long airplane.  It had been travelling at more than 200km per hour and the avoidance of an accident could have been only a matter of seconds.

O’Neill had told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that she had felt the plane had been only metres away from her and if she had not stopped the ambulance she would have hit the aircraft.

She had later developed psychological injuries, which included suffering flashbacks of the incident.  She said she felt guilty for what could have happened to passengers on the aircraft and to air traffic controllers.  The court heard that she was still taking antidepressant medication prescribed by her doctor.

The Irish Aviation Authority had entered a full defence to Ms O’Neill’s claim, denying liability.  It claimed that although there had been an error on the part of air traffic control, the plane had been 86m away from Ms O’Neill when she had stopped her ambulance. It also claimed her injuries were caused by her own imagining what might have happened had she hit the plane.

Today Mr Gallagher, who appeared with Anderson & Gallagher solicitors for Ms O’Neill, said that following talks between the parties, her claim had settled.  Judge Groarke struck out the case and made no order regarding legal costs. 

The judge had last week dismissed Ms O’Neill’s employer, Dublin Airport Authority, represented by barrister Shane English, as a defendant in the case.

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