Sunday 17 December 2017

Pensioner who fell while passing Wales supporters in Dublin pub loses claim

Stock photo: Getty
Stock photo: Getty

Ray Managh

A 72-year-old housewife, who broke her nose in two places when she fell when passing Welsh rugby supporters in a Dublin pub, has lost a €60,000 personal injuries claim in the Circuit Civil Court.

Margaret Kelly said The Eagle House pub in Glasthule, Co Dublin, was packed on Sunday, February 9, 2014 with lunchtime diners and Welsh fans when she tripped on a chair and fell.

She told barrister Grainne Larkin, counsel for Liam and Liam Taverns Limited (correct), which owns The Eagle House, that she was being treated to lunch by her daughter and they had to make their way through a narrow space between chairs and customers.

Ms Kelly said her foot caught against the leg of a chair and she fell forward striking her face on the floor and breaking her nose in two places.  In hospital later she had to have seven stitches inserted but declined surgery to repair her nose under anaesthetic.

She told Ms Larkin, who appeared with solicitors Helene Coffey and Co, that her nose was “pumping blood” as she was helped up off the floor and treated by her daughter and staff.

The court heard she had been taken to St Michael’s Hospital, Dunlaoghaire, by ambulance.  Afterwards her eyes and face had been black and blue and she still suffered with “stuffiness” in her nose.

Ms Kelly, of Sallynoggin Road Upper, Sallynoggin, Co Dublin, told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke there was a very small space in which to pass between rugby fans and tables and chairs.

Judge Groarke said there was a large group of Welsh rugby fans seated in the pub and anyone entering such a busy premises would know there would be narrow access in some areas that would require some degree of personal care.

“Customers may have to navigate their way to whatever part of the premises they wished to go to and such manoeuvring requires care.  That does not mean a premises is improperly managed,” he said.

He said that in such situations if a customer was blocking the way he or she could be asked to move. 

“We do it all the time and in reverse situations if we have to move we oblige others by doing so.  The court cannot set grossly unreasonable standards on the owners of such premises,” Judge Groarke said.

He said Ms Kelly’s daughter, walking ahead of her mother, did not have any difficulty getting through the gap between chairs and had not seen any reason to alert her mother to be careful.

“Ms Kelly is a decent woman and though I may wish to find differently in different circumstances I cannot, with all due respect, find that the owner was negligent,” Judge Groarke said.

After dismissing Kelly’s case Ms Larkin told the court that pub owner Liam Reilly would not be seeking to impose legal costs on Ms Kelly.

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