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Family's relief at €7m payout for victim of crash

THE father of a young woman who suffered catastrophic brain injuries in a crash will "die happy" knowing her financial future is secure following a €7m High Court settlement.

Valerie Bourke (26) was left irreparably brain-damaged following the collision with a truck in 2006 and now needs round-the-clock care.

Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill approved the settlement yesterday for Ms Bourke.

It is one of the highest personal settlements ever recorded.

Her father Kieran, of Ash Park, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, said he is relieved his daughter's financial future has been secured.

"We had to finance everything ourselves up to today and we found it very difficult," he told the Irish Independent.

"We have a excellent care system set up in our home. We were lucky that we were able to handle most of it but we had to go borrow some.

"I can die happy knowing that from a financial point of view she is going to be taken care of."


Mr Bourke said the end of the trial means he and his family can finally move on.

"What it means is that it brings closure to what happened on the May 13, 2006, for us. It means we can start getting on with things. We can get on with our lives."

The student sued through her mother Catherine following the accident. She sued the driver of the truck Patrick Holden, of Sream, Aglish, Carigee, Co Waterford, and also the owner Stefan Gilchrist, Clonmore, Piltown, Co Kilkenny.

The settlement, which includes a €4m award for future care, was against both defendants.

Liability had been conceded and the case was before the court for assessment only.

Outlining the case yesterday, Michael McGrath, counsel for Ms Bourke, said despite being born deaf, she had engaged fully with society and completed her applied Leaving Certificate and a one- year business course.

He said she was looking forward to her life ahead but all of that changed as a result of the accident.

Ms Bourke was driving her red Nissan Micra when the truck driven by Mr Holden turned across her path at the Old Schoolhouse junction on the road between Carrick-on-Suir and Waterford, counsel said.

It was alleged the truck was driven in a dangerous manner and on to the incorrect side of the road into Ms Bourke's car.

She suffered a catastrophic brain injury as a result of which she has lost all independence of living, is wheelchair-bound and will require total nursing care indefinitely, the court was told.

While she has made some progress, a clinical neuropsychologist had formed the opinion her prospects for the future remain severely limited.

Irish Independent