Girl (9) who cut foot on broken glass in park loses €60k claim
South Dublin County Council, which has 1,500 acres of parks and open space, could not be expected to collect illegally dumped rubbish on a daily basis, the Circuit Civil Court has been told.
Barrister John Doherty, counsel for the local authority, told Judge Terence O'Sullivan rubbish was collected on a regular basis, sometimes within days, and there was little more the council could do apart from keeping children off recreational areas by putting up fencing.
"That would defeat the very purpose of having them in the first place," he said.
The barrister was speaking in a case in which the father of a nine-year-old girl unsuccessfully sued the council in a €60,000 damages case after the child injured her foot four years ago on broken glass.
Mr Doherty, who appeared for the council, told Judge O'Sullivan the law in such cases imposed a duty of care on local authorities insofar as not to injure a person intentionally and not to act with reckless disregard for the safety of users.
Counsel for Brooke Davis, suing through her father Carl Davis, of Kilmartin Avenue, Tallaght, told the court the local authority was responsible for the maintenance of communal greens, including the clean-up and collection of waste from such areas. He said the council had been negligent in its duty.
Paula Davis, Brooke's mother, told the court her child had been playing with neighbouring children on a green outside her home at Kilmartin Avenue and lacerated her foot on a broken glass bottle.
After claiming the council, despite frequent complaints, had failed in its duty to regularly clean up the area, she told Mr Doherty in cross-examination that she was aware, before Brooke had started playing, that there was illegally dumped rubbish on the green.
Judge O'Sullivan, dismissing the child's claim, agreed with a submission by Mr Doherty that the council by law had a duty that did not stretch beyond not injuring a person intentionally and not to act with reckless disregard towards a person's safety.
The judge said while it was wrong for people to dump rubbish illegally, the council could not be expected on all occasions to remove it immediately.