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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Concertgoer sues after impaling her arm on gate spike at Slane

Tim Healy

Published 28/02/2014 | 02:30

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Karen McCormack

A YOUNG woman whose arm became impaled on a spike when she climbed a gate following a concert in Slane Castle is suing the promoters.

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Karen McCormack (27) said she has been left with a "disgusting" scar on her arm and had to take two weeks off work after the incident in the early hours of June 21, 2009, hours after the band Oasis had finished playing.

Ms McCormack, who flew from Australia to give evidence, told the High Court she and her friends walked down a mucky woodland path in "the pitch black" before coming to the Dublin Road gate in Slane through which she had entered the event earlier.

The gate was over four metres high with spikes on top and her only option was to climb it, she said.

She was nearly over when she had to go back and help a friend who had panicked.

"I swung my arm around and the spike went through my arm pit. I went into shock and pulled my arm off the spike. There was excruciating pain," she said.

Ms McCormack with an address at Deerpark, Ashbourne, Co Meath, has sued concert promoters, MCD Productions, claiming there should have been signs advising people the Dublin Road gate would be closed after the event.

MCD denies the claims and says there was contributory negligence on the part of Ms McCormack who took a "prohibited shortcut" and attempted to get over a locked gate.

MCD contends she passed three designated main exits before going down the woodland track to the Dublin Road gate.

Opening her case, Turlough O'Donnell SC, said a stark fact was that long after the concert was over, Ms McCormack and her friends were without hindrance or any interruption able to walk through the entire Slane Castle estate in the early hours.

Counsel said it speaks of a complete failure in the defendant's system of care and they should explain the "extraordinary lapse of care".

But Declan Buckley SC, for MCD, said the extraordinary lapse of care was on the part of of Ms McCormack who decided to climb the gate.

RECKLESS

"It was fundamentally a reckless and foolhardy decision – she was not in a scrum; there was no urgency and no evacuation," he said.

"It is a very high gate with spikes on top designed to keep out knights and soldiers in war-time, and she decided to climb it," Mr Buckley said.

In evidence, Ms McCormack said she had four or five drinks after entering the castle grounds and at 9pm got into the VIP area.

She and her friends watched the concert from the VIP section and afterwards went to the main castle to an event hosted by the castle owner, Henry Mountcharles.

Ms McCormack said when her group came out of the castle she asked a security guard how to get out and was told to go to the top of the field and turn right, which they did.

MCD counsel put it to Ms McCormack that what she had done in climbing the gate was utterly dangerous and stupid.

She said she did not see exits and she went where she was told to go.

The hearing continues before Ms Justice Bronagh O'Hanlon.

Irish Independent

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