Bin worker awarded €235,000 for injuries
A PAINFUL accident suffered by a man working on a council bin collection yielded a €253,000 payout in the High Court last week.
But the money was earned the hard way as Dermot O'Leary accepts he may never resume his career as a GAA referee.
And the 37-year-old from Whitefort in Crossabeg has been taking computer training in the hope that he will find a job which will put less strain on his damaged back.
The former Crossabeg/Ballymurn club junior player sustained serious injuries in the accident at Caim near Enniscorthy while working for Wexford County Council on October 30, 2010.
Judge Mary Finlay Geoghegan, sitting in Waterford, heard evidence that persuaded her to award him of €253,678 - €15,808 was for loss of earnings, along with €44,700 for future loss of income, as well €193,179 in damages.
The legal action was taken against FBD as the insurer covering the van of stonemason Martin Codd, which came up behind the refuse lorry on which Dermot O'Leary was working and knocked him out.
He was brought to Wexford General Hospital and given painkillers and released that afternoon but it soon became apparent that he had serious problems which included a leg fractured, collapsed lung and dental damage.
'I still have problems with my back,' he confirmed after returning from the three-day court hearing, 'and I am still out of work.'
Dermot recalled that he attempted to return to the council payroll but was unable to meet the physical demands.
Similarly, he tried to return to the GAA roster but found the pressure on his knee was too great.
In order to find alternative employment, he has taken a computer course with Solas and he hopes to take another.
'I do not want to sit at home - I want to work,' he told this newspaper.
Over the years since the accident in Caim, he has become familiar not only with Wexford General but also with Ard Aoibhinn and the Whitford.
He had to borrow money to pay for surgery, in the expectation that FBD would eventually pay up.
The evidence suggested that some of the damage to his back may have been due to a pre-existing condition, reducing the value of the settlement from €300,000 down nearer to the quarter million mark.
He lives in Crossabeg with his wife Pamela and their three children, along with Pamela's three older children.
He expressed his gratitude for the support shown by his family.