Farmer seeks €1.65m over combine harvester accident

Gearoid Hurley, from Bandon, Co. Cork pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday(Thurs) during his High Court action for damages.Pic: Collins Courts
Gearoid Hurley, from Bandon, Co. Cork pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday(Thurs) during his High Court action for damages.Pic: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A 34-year-old farmer who has sued after he suffered horrific injuries to his hand when it was sucked into a combine harvester has claimed for €1.65million in losses, the High Court heard.

Gearoid Hurley, under cross examination, agreed the losses under the special damages claim includes €80,000 for dairy cows which have been sold by his father and a €55,000 tractor his father bought after the accident three years ago.

Thomas Creed SC, put it to Mr Hurley, he was claiming for the loss of a herd which his father had sold.

Mr Hurley replied: ”Those cows would have been coming to me.”

He has claimed he was due to inherit the family dairy farm outside Bandon in Cork when he was 35 years old, but his right hand is compromised and he cannot now work as  a dairy farmer.

As a result he said his sister is set to inherit the 97 acres family farm which has since converted to beef.

Mr Hurley has taken over a smaller 79 acres outside tillage farm near Cork Airport.

Mr Hurley, Mallowgaton, Bandon, has sued Mark Troy, an agricultural contractor of Knockroe,Bandon, and the agricultural company Ardkeena  Agri Services Ltd also of Knockroe, Bandon, as a result of the accident on September 16,2016 on land in Brinny, Inishannon, Co Cork.

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The court heard on Friday lliability had been withdrawn in the case and it is before the court for assessment of damages only.

Mr Hurley was working for Mr Troy at the time and was attempting to manually unclog grain from a combine harvester, when it was claimed the auger of the machine was allegedly activated by Mr Troy.

Mr Hurley has claimed he was requested to unclog the combine harvester in  dangerous and hazardous circumstances and the auger of the harvester was allegedly activated in circumstances in which injury was likely to be caused.

He has further claimed there was an a failure to train or supervise him adequately.

Mr Hurley's hand was pulled upwards and crushed and remained trapped for about an hour until firemen managed to cut through the combine harvester to free it.

In evidence, Mr Hurley  said he can't shake hands  as normal and said he offers his left hand rather than the right hand which suffered the injuries.

He can’t do tasks associated with dairy farming he said such as, milking, fencing, dehorning or help with the birthing of calves.

“I come from a farming background. That is what I want for the future. I didn’t want to lease the farm. If I had not been injured, I would have done dairy farming.”

He added: “Farming is my passion, it’s what I want to do, it is built in to a lot of people.”

In cross examination, Mr Creed, for the defendants,  put it to him that Mr Troy will say Mr Hurley did not like milking cows at all. He replied: “That is what he would say.”

He disagreed that when his parents were away for a few days, his brother and sister have to help as Mr Hurley hates milking cows.

He agreed he is claiming €80,000 for dairy cows which have been sold by his father and claiming the loss of a €55,000 tractor which the court heard his father bought after the accident.

The case continues on Tuesday.

Online Editors


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