A FORMER bus driver, who was injured after his bike collided with a Garda motorcycle which was in a convoy escorting former president Mary McAleese, has lost his €38,000 personal injury claim in the Circuit Civil Court.
Paul O’Reilly (47) said that on the 19th November 2008, he had overtaken Garda Mark Walsh’s motorcycle on the motorway near Concolbert Road, Dublin, when he heard a siren and was almost immediately rear-ended by Garda Walsh.
He told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke he was not aware that Garda Walsh, who was riding on the right lane, was part of an escort and thought the presidential convoy of three black cars on the left lane was a funeral.
Mr O’Reilly, of Woodville Close, Lucan, Co Dublin, said yesterday (Thursday) that after the impact he was thrown from his motorcycle and landed on his knees and right hand side.
He was taken by ambulance to St James’s Hospital, Dublin. He suffered abrasions to his knees and a soft tissue injury to his right elbow. He said for several months he had difficulty on bending and kneeling and underwent physiotherapy sessions.
Mr O’Reilly told the court the accident also aggravated a pre-existing lower back injury. He sued the Minister for Finance for damages.
Barrister Niall Fitzgibbon, counsel for the defence, said the authority denied liability. He said Mr O’Reilly had undertaken a dangerous manoeuvre when he overtook Garda Walsh on the left-hand side of the right lane.
Garda Walsh told the court that he had been holding the line at the back of the convoy to ensure no civilian vehicle could pass when he saw in his rear-side mirror Mr O’Reilly’s motorcycle approaching to his level.
He had activated his siren to indicate him to drive back and Mr O’Reilly allegedly lost control of his motorbike. Garda Walsh had fallen too and was taken to St James’s Hospital. He suffered bruises to his ribs.
Judge Groarke said Mr O’Reilly must have known it was an escort and had created an emergency situation by driving through. He said Garda Walsh could not be blamed as he was part of a security operation. He dismissed Mr O’Reilly’s claim.