Thursday 14 November 2019

€61k not enough to compensate girl for gate-fall injury

Colin McHugh leaving court yesterday
Colin McHugh leaving court yesterday

Saurya Cherfi

A €61,000 settlement offer would not be enough to compensate a nine-year-old schoolgirl who broke her left leg when a gate in Dublin's inner city collapsed on her three years ago, a judge said.

A court heard that Sophie Gannon would need to undergo several sessions of surgical procedures to try and improve the unpleasant scars on her leg.

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said he was not convinced a figure, which comprised of €45,000 for pain and suffering, €15,000 for future medical treatments and €1,000 for fees and expenses, would "meet the situation".

Barrister George Maguire had told the Circuit Civil Court that in November 2011, Sophie had been playing with friends near the entrance gate to her home at North Clarence Street Flats, Summerhill, Dublin.

Sophie, who was six-years-old at the time, had climbed on the heavy metal gate, when it suddenly came off its hinges and fell on her.

The court heard that she struck her head violently on the ground and remained pinned beneath the gate until the emergency services arrived and lifted it off her.

Sophie was taken to the A&E Department of Children's University Hospital, Temple Street in Dublin.

X-rays revealed a fracture of her left femur, which had needed to be operated on under general anaesthesia.

She had also suffered a deep cut injury to her thigh.

This had developed a haematoma which had later required evacuation under general anaesthetic, the court was told.

Judge Groarke heard Sophie had made a good recovery but the wounds had left several scars on her leg.


Through her father, Colin McHugh, she sued Dublin City Council for negligence and breach of duty.

She claimed the gate was dangerous and defective and that the local authority had failed to take any reasonable care to prevent it collapsing and causing her injury.

Mr Maguire told the court that following settlement negotiations last November, Dublin City Council had made a €61,000 offer.

The judge said he feared the figure would not be enough and he adjourned the case to later this month to allow further talks between the parties.

Irish Independent

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