Thursday 23 May 2019

Tourist sues National Museum of Ireland after 'slip and roll' down marble staircase

High Court defence: The National Museum of Ireland
High Court defence: The National Museum of Ireland

Tim Healy

An Australian tourist claims he injured his leg when he slipped and rolled down a marble stairs at the National Museum of Ireland (NMI) in Dublin.

Warren Baldwin (70) was in the city on the trip of a lifetime to Europe, with his wife Tanya, when the accident happened tearing part of a tendon on his right leg.

He has sued the NMI for negligence in the High Court as a result of the fall on June 5, 2016.

His counsel Aidan Walsh SC said it was their case the polished marble steps of  the staircase dating back to 1890 were "quite slippery."  

Mr Baldwin was moving from the main balcony area down the marble steps in the Kildare Street museum  when his leg slipped on the second or third last step and he fell on to his side and rolled down the rests of the stairs to the floor, the court heard.

He was taken to hospital where he spent overnight on a trolley before being examined.

It was found Mr Baldwin had partially torn a tendon which runs from the knee to the hips. He was given a brace and crutches to help him when he flew back to Australia a few days later.

Mr Baldwin, who lives in Revesby, just outside Sydney, claimed there was a failure to provide adequate lighting, signage and a failure to provide adequate supervision of the main balcony stairway.

He further claimed there was a failure  to provide adequate hand railing and that the steps had been allegedly permitted to become unsafe.  They were polished smooth from wear and allegedly did not have adequate anti slip nosing, it was claimed.

The claims are denied.

The NMI contends the stairs are free from defect and there was one handrail.

It also contends there was contributory negligence on the part of  Mr Baldwin, who it was claimed was rushing to descend and was not paying attention.

The NMI also says  over 470,000 people visited the museum in 2016, the year of the accident. Mr Baldwin was the only person who fell on the stairs.

In evidence Mr Baldwin told the court he and his wife had spent one and a half hours walking around the museum and were leaving when the accident happened.

"I put my foot on the edge of the stairs. My foot slipped, I went to my side, I hit the step and I rolled down.

"I heard a loud crack, I thought I had broken a bone," he said.

He added there was no rush as the couple went down the stairs.

When he got back to Australia, he said he had to have a surgical procedure carried out on his leg and also had to have ten weeks of physiotherapy.

The case before Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon continues.

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