Sunday 18 March 2018

Widow who claimed she was knocked down by ‘Fr Dougal’ in milk float settles damages

Geraldine Naughton (59) pinned under float after it rolled over her leg, court hears

Fr Dougal inside Craggy Island's milk float.
Fr Dougal inside Craggy Island's milk float.
Fr Dougal driving the 'Craggy Island Creamery' van.

A widow who claimed she was knocked down by "Fr Dougal" and injured by a milk float used in the cult television comedy show "Father Ted" has settled a High Court action for damages.

Geraldine Naughton, 59, of Inisgrove, Lahinch Road, Ennis, Co Clare, claimed she was pinned under the float after it drove up against the curb of a roundabout and rolled over her left leg.

According to court documents, the milk float was "driven or steered erratically" by a man dressed as the buffoon priest Fr Dougal McGuire character during the Father Ted festival in Kilfenora, Co Clare on or about February 26, 2008.

Ms Naughton claimed she fell after she was driven up against the curb of a makeshift roundabout by the milk float, whereupon the wheel of the float passed over her leg leaving her in "great pain".

When the float was removed her ankle and lower leg were swollen and extremely painful.

She was conveyed to Ennis General Hospital where x-rays revealed a fracture to the tip of her left fibula and she was placed in plaster. She had to use crutches for eight weeks. She also sustained a laceration to the back of her left ankle.

She was seen at the fracture clinic at Limerick Regional Hospital on various follow up dates where it was also noted she had sustained a friction burn of the skin on her left calf. The cast was removed in April 2008 and she underwent physiotherapy.

According to the plaintiff's claim papers lodged with the High Court, Ms Naughton was "left with a scar that constitutes a cosmetic defect".

"This is a source of great embarrassment to the plaintiff as she is very conscious of the scar," the document stated.

It was also claimed the plaintiff continues to suffer from pain if she partakes in any physical exercise and is unable to wear high heeled shoes.

Ms Naughton sued for damages for personal injury, loss, inconvenience and expense caused or occasioned by the negligence on the part of the defendants or one of them, their servants or agents. She also claimed interest on all special damages pursuant to Statute and further or other reliefs, as well as court costs together with VAT at the appropriate statutory rate.

According to the claim document, the Plaintiff and seven others took part in a fundraising event organised by and for Down Syndrome Ireland Ltd, the first named defendant, which involved pushing a milk float from Ennistymon to Kilfenora in Co Clare, a distance of approximately 10kms.

"The said milk float was the same or a replica of the milk float which had featured in an episode of the television comedy programme Fr Ted,  which particular episode was a parody of the action movie "Speed", and accordingly the milk float would be recognised with fondness by aficionados and followers of the Father Ted programme," the claim document stated.

The Father Ted festival -- run by the second named defendants Friends of Ted Ltd, which organises festivals and events themed on the "Father Ted" television show, and has its registered office at 27 The Nurseries, Taylor's Hill, Galway -- was taking place in Kilfenora at the time.

It was claimed that, after completing the push to Kilfenora, the plaintiff and her friends were asked by a servant or agent of the charity to return to the square in Kilfenora to push the float around a temporary roundabout which had been put in the main square so as to generate publicity for the Father Ted festival as there was various media present.

The plaintiff claimed she was taking part in the push organised by Down Syndrome Ireland and was struck by a vehicle owned or in control of Down Syndrome Ireland but at the time being steered by a servant or agent of the Fr Ted Festival.

Senior Counsel, Michael McMahon asked the court to strike out the matter after it was heard an undisclosed settlement was agreed.

There was no admission of liability by any of the parties involved.

The terms of the settlement was not disclosed and the mater was struck out by Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill at the High Court sitting in Limerick.

Meanwhile, speaking to the Irish Independent this evening, a spokesperson for Tedfest distanced themselves from the case.

A former employee of the ‘Friends of Ted Limited’ said that she was no longer involved in the company but that she was made aware at the time that the incident had occurred but that “it was in the right hands”.

The organisers of the annual ‘TedFest’, which is set to take place on Inis Mor this weekend, last night distanced themselves from the incident.

“We are aware of the incident. Just to be clear, it wasn’t TedFest.  We have nothing to do with it now,” a spokesperson for the festival said.

David Raleigh and Emma Jane Hade

Online Editors

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