Thursday 22 February 2018

Royal Canal burst its banks and wrote off woman's jeep, court hears

Dublin's Royal Canal
Dublin's Royal Canal

Ray Managh

A Dublin postal worker, whose Suzuki jeep was written off in “an unprecedented downpour that caused the Royal Canal to burst its banks,” has lost a damages claim against her employer An Post.

Teresa Roche, of Windmill Crescent, Crumlin, Dublin, told the Circuit Civil Court today that on October 24, 2011, she parked her 08 Suzuki in the car park at the Dublin Mail Centre, Knockmitten, Dublin, just before 6 p.m.

During a work break only two hours later she had gone to the car park which was completely flooded. 

The water was so deep she was unable to get to her car which had to be written off as a result of damage to the electrics.

Roche, a mail sorting machinist, told barrister Paul McKeon, counsel for an Post, that she had not heard any announcements on a Tannoy system warning staff to go to the car park and recover their vehicles. 

She agreed a number of staff got their vehicles out before the flood hit.

She agreed with Mr McKeon that the downpour that night was unprecedented. 

She had not learned of the canal bursting its banks until afterwards.

She could not recall a notice disclaiming responsibility for cars parked in the area but knew there was one there now.

The court heard that Alliance insurance company had paid her €6,647:61 which included deductions of €1,200 for salvage and a €250 excess. 

She had valued her car at €10,000 and was claiming for a loss differential of more than €2,000 and damages for loss and inconvenience.

Mr McKeon told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that An Post had no case to answer in the absence of any contractual obligation on An Post to look after her car. 

The “out of the blue” flood was unforeseeable and there had never been flooding of the area before or since.

He said An Post had done its best to inform employees quickly and most had been able to move their cars.

Dismissing Roche’s claim, Judge Linnane said the flood had resulted from torrential rain and the canal having broken its banks.  She awarded legal costs against Ms Roche.

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