Friday 23 February 2018

Boy who hammered nail into electric pole settles case for €700k

Denise O’Callaghan, mother of Kurt O’Callaghan, leaves court yesterday. Photo: Collins
Denise O’Callaghan, mother of Kurt O’Callaghan, leaves court yesterday. Photo: Collins

Tim Healy

A ten-year-old boy who was electrocuted when he hammered a nail into an electricity pole has settled his High Court action for €700,000.

Kurt O'Callaghan was playing with friends in a wood near his home and was making a camp when he decided to put up a 'Keep Out' sign.

The court heard he hit a cable when he hammered in the nail for his sign. He was thrown back and suffered severe burn injuries.

His counsel said Kurt had climbed on a low boundary wall to a housing estate to access the pole.

Kurt, now 17, from Wexford town, through his mother Denise O'Callaghan, sued the ESB as a result of the accident, which happened not far from his home on July 3, 2008.

It was claimed that he had been exposed to a danger to which the ESB knew or ought to have known existed.

It was also claimed there was an alleged failure to carry out an inspection of the wall or the electricity pole, so as to detect the dangerous nature of the wall's proximity to the nearby electricity pole and in particular the presence of high-velocity cables.

The claims were denied.

Kurt had to have multiple operations and grafts to burn areas on his head, neck shoulders, chest and hands.

The court heard there was a statutory requirement to ensure electricity poles are protected up to three metres from the ground.

When an engineer for the O'Callaghan side inspected the pole, he reported finding 52 other nails in it, including those which had been used to hang election posters.

The court heard that Kurt spent three months in Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin.


He will possibly need another operation, but has made an amazing recovery and is now waiting to take up a welding apprenticeship.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said that the boy had an awful time and it was extremely traumatic for him.

He said it was a good settlement and the boy could have faced a possible claim of contributory negligence if the case had gone ahead.

Irish Independent

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