Thursday 5 December 2019

Cleaner (79) who fell down stairs at Blackrock Market awarded €105k by High Court

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Tim Healy

A cleaner who fell down a stairs at the Blackrock Market in Dublin and fractured her arm has been awarded €105,000 by the High Court.

Mary McKenna, who was 74 at the time of the fall on a wooden staircase, was working three hours one morning a week at the market for €25 a week.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy was satisfied she fell as a result of “an inappropriate stair arrangement” and the fall has had “a devastating effect on her life”.

Up until the accident, the judge said Mrs McKenna was remarkably independent and able to carry out the physically-demanding job of cleaning.

“The fact that she was able to do it at 74 years of age, I am impressed by that,” the judge said.

The judge said the incident has had major effect on the nature of Mrs McKenna’s existence and “her ability to earn pin money”.

The judgment is against businessman Nicholas Roche, the owner of Blackrock Market, who did not attend court for the hearing.

Judgment was obtained in default of appearance.

The judge was satisfied Mr Roche had been served with notice of the proceedings. She also granted costs against Mr Roche.

Ms McKenna (now 79), Achill Road, Ballybrack, Co Dublin, had sued over the accident on October 28, 2014 as she descended a wooden staircase which was exposed to the elements.

It was claimed there was a failure to warn stair users of the alleged dangerous condition of the stairs and a failure to have a suitable handrail installed.

It was further claimed the stairs were allowed to be in a wet and dangerous condition.

Ms McKenna’s counsel Paul Burns SC said it was their case that the handrail installed was “totally unsuitable” and. Mrs McKenna slipped and couldn’t stop herself and fell heavily on her left shoulder, he said..

She has been left with a limited range of movement in her shoulder, counsel said.

In evidence, Ms McKenna, who is a mother of four and a grandmother, said she had been working for nine years as a cleaner at the market at the time of the accident.

After the accident, she said she could not do normal housework or reach up with her left hand to hang clothes out on the line.

She said her husband Barney has to help her. She described her cleaning at a Blackrock Market as hard work and said she never went back to work after the accident.

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