€10m settlement for crash victim
A young woman awarded €10 million in damages after suffering catastrophic injuries in a car crash over three years ago is continuing to make "remarkable progress" according to her family.
Speaking in the aftermath of the award in the High Court, Solicitor Kieran Ryan said Lydia Branley (28) was an extremely bright and capable person.
"She is was an inspiration to all who have had the pleasure of dealing with her," he said.
Mr Ryan told The Sligo Champion: "Lydia suffered catastrophic injuries to her head and spine but she has made and continues to make remarkable progress especially from her head injuries.
"Lydia and her family would like to say that they are happy to see her case concluded.
"While money can never recompense Lydia for the devastating injuries she received in September 2010, it will at least, give some measure of comfort towards her future care.
"Lydia would like to thank the doctors and medical staff for their efforts in saving her life and helping her rehabilitation.
"She would especially like to publicly acknowledge the unstinting love and care given to her by her parents, brother and sister without which she would never have made the progress she has."
Ms Justice Mary Irvine said it was an excellent settlement and she approved it.
Ms Branley, a former aviation radio controller, was a front seat passenger in a BMW car driven by Martin Kearney (31) Faranoo, Ballina.
He lost control turning off the Sligo N4 dual-carriageway at Ballisodare on to a slip road at 12.30am.
Ms Branley, from Largydonnell, Kinlough had to be cut from the car which ended up in a stream.
She was in a coma for nine months after the accident.
Kearney was jailed for six years with two years suspended for dangerous driving causing serious harm.
He was also banned for 20 years.
Kearney was driving shortly after his driving licence was returned halfway through an earlier five-year road ban.
A victim impact statement read by Lydia's sister Andrea to the Circuit Court described how her life had become a nightmare.
When she came out of the coma nine months after the accident she was "horrified" to discover she lost the use of her limbs and could not talk or eat.
Her dream to travel the world was smashed.
Judge Anthony Hunt at Sligo Circuit Court said Ms Branley had been successful in her education and in her career.
"After this accident her mind is still present, but her body almost has ceased to function.
"Anybody who heard the evidence would appreciate the devastation brought about by Mr Kearney's actions."
He said very great speed was the primary cause of the tragedy and there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol consumption.
Ms Branley had worked at Ballygirreen, Co Clare, as a radio officer linking communications between air traffic controllers at Prestwick in Scotland and pilots in the mid-Atlantic.