Friday 24 May 2019

Drover wins payout after kick in groin from bullock

Darragh McCullough and Tim Healy

A MART worker who lost a testicle when he received a kick in the groin from a bullock is entitled to damages against his employers.

The Supreme Court found that Binnacle Ltd, trading as Cavan Co-op Mart, was two-thirds liable for the injuries suffered by cattle drover and farmer Patrick Lynch (53).

Mr Lynch, who has not worked since the incident, was found to be one-third liable and the case has been sent back to the High Court for assessment of damages.

The court heard that Mr Lynch was left doing the work of three drovers as two others had absented themselves for half an hour to do their own business at the mart on October 24, 2003.

As a result of a kick from a Limousin bullock, Mr Lynch, of Crubany, Co Cavan, suffered significant trauma to the scrotum which gave rise to a haemorrhage damaging his right testicle. His case was originally dismissed by the High Court after finding he was the "author of his own misfortune".

However, the Supreme Court found in favour of Mr Lynch though he was also found to be 33pc responsible because he had not asked either of the other two to remain at work and did not ask anyone to help him.

Mr Lynch said the mart, which is owned by local Poles Co-op, operated a system whereby he herded cattle from a pen in a yard to a dividing pen prior to their entering the sales ring.


A second drover was positioned at the dividing pens to herd the cattle into two individual pens and a third drover was positioned near the weighbridge to release cattle individually into that area to be weighed.

Mr Lynch claimed he had performed the two absent drovers' tasks, as well as his own, and this required him to enter the animal-occupied pens.

In her ruling, Ms Justice Denham said the fact was that Mr Lynch entered a pen, went behind the bullock, and got kicked as he was moving forward to open a gate which would have been opened by one of the two missing drovers.

Cavan Mart only reopened for business last October after closing down for the previous seven months.

Legal actions such as the Lynch case are having an influence on manner in which marts carry out their business.

In recent years, the Irish Co-operative Society (ICOS), the umbrella group that represents marts and co-ops around the country, introduced compulsory training for all cattle drovers employed at marts.

The need for this training is clear from some of the incidents in cattle marts over the past 12 months.

Cows have rampaged through town centres of Kilmallock and Ennis during mart days, bringing cattle to a standstill as a result.

Meanwhile, in Tuam Mart last year a drover was attacked by a cow and had to jump clear from a pen.

"Accidents happen all the time at marts," said ICOS executive Ray Doyle.

"But we're very confident that we've done all that we can through training and information booklets to minimise the number of serious ones."

Irish Independent

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