Saturday 7 December 2019

Woman claims she broke her ankle when she stepped into a hole in a public park, court hears

Sally Lothian.
Sally Lothian.

Tim Healy

A WOMAN who claims she broke her ankle when she stepped into a hole in a public park has sued the Office of Public Works in the High Court.

Sally Lothian (60), St Patrick's Park, Celbridge, Co Kildare, says she spent 11 days in hospital as a result of three breaks to her right ankle in the accident which occurred while she was out for a walk with her husband and their dog in Castletown House, Celbridge, a former country house and estate now open to the public and maintained by the OPW.

She claims the OPW was negligent in failing to ensure her safety by failing to cordon off an area where work on putting in a path and trimming back trees had been going on.

The OPW denies her claims and says work on the path did not take place until a week after the accident. 

It denies there was a hole and even if there was it could have been dug by an animal. The OPW could not be expected to provide people with protection in a parkland which it maintains as a natural habitat rather than a manicued park, it is argued.

Ms Lothian, a supermarket operative, said she regularly walked her dog in the area the accident happened and the hole had not been there before. The area she had walked on had clearly been disturbed, she said.

Under cross examination, she doubted that the hole could have been dug by an animal.  She also denied her foot went from a higher piece of ground into a lower area and this is what caused the accident.

The case resumes next week before Mr Justice Anthony Barr.

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