Soldier who suffered brain injury in Lebanon car crash settles High Court action
A soldier who suffered a brain injury in the Lebanon when a vehicle he was in skidded and crashed - killing four of his colleagues - has settled his High Court action for damages.
Sergeant Edmund O'Neill, who has also served in Liberia and Chad was with his fellow soldiers on the way to Beirut on leave from peacekeeping duties when the accident happened 15 years ago, the court heard.
He was in a UNIFIL-registered open top land cruiser which skidded on an oil spillage on the road.
His four colleagues lost their lives in the accident as a five-vehicle convoy made its way along the Tire to Beirut Road.
After skidding and going out of control, the land cruiser hit a metal barrier and overturned.
The five were thrown from the vehicle with the other four losing their lives.
On what was to be the second day of the case Thursday (Nov 26), Sgt O'Neill's counsel told the court the case had been settled and struck out.
Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, in congratulating the parties on the settlement, said he had been impressed by Sgt O'Neill in the witness box given everything he had gone through since the tragic incident occurred. He wished him well for the future.
Sgt O'Neill (36), Tower View Park, Kildare town, who was a Private at the time of the accident on February 14, 2000, has sued the Minister for Defence and the State.
Liability has been admitted and the case is before the court for assessment of damages only.
It was claimed Army personnel were transported in a canvas-covered open top land cruiser when it was unsuitable and dangerous for the transportation of passengers.
It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to provide a bus or other appropriate vehicle for the transportation of passengers including Sgt O'Neill and where the they were being transported for non-operational purposes.
The court was told he suffered a skull fracture and was taken to Sacre Coeur Hospital in Beirut.
He had an acquired brain injury and was in the Beirut hospital for 30days before being airlifted to Dublin.
He resumed light duties with the Army in September, 2000.
As a result of his brain injury, he loses track of conversations and is forgetful, it was claimed.
He has since been promoted to the rank of sergeant.
Sgt O'Neill told the court he had no recollection of the accident.