Aer Lingus has been fined €250,000 for a health and safety breach in connection with the death of a cargo driver at Dublin Airport more than two years ago.
The company admitted exposing non-employees to risks to their health and safety in relation to a practice that had developed of cargo drivers habitually gaining access to a loading bay by climbing onto and off a three-feet-high loading dock.
John Murray (55), from Skerries, Co Dublin, was climbing down from a loading bay at a cargo warehouse at the airport at night when he fell and suffered fatal head injuries.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard he was found on his back unconscious about 25 minutes later.
He suffered fractures to his skull and, despite undergoing surgery to relieve swelling of the brain, he died several days later.
The company pleaded guilty through a representative that it failed to manage and conduct its undertaking in such a way as to ensure that individuals who were not its employees were not exposed to risks to their safety, health or welfare at or near Gate 7 at Aer Lingus Cargo Warehouse on November 5, 2014.
The Murray family's solicitor, Dermot McNamara, confirmed a claim for damages against Aer Lingus had been lodged in the High Court. "Whilst my clients welcome yesterday's verdict, it does little to ease their pain," Mr McNamara said.
"John Murray went to work on November 5, 2014, and his family expected him to return home safely.
"In this case, the failure to ensure drivers used a safe pedestrian option ultimately cost Mr Murray his life and left a family with a devastating loss."