Plumber settles meat-plant disease case
A MAN who claimed he contracted brucellosis while working as a plumber in meat rendering plants has settled his High Court action for damages.
Matthew Ryan (67), of Bianconi Drive, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, sued his employer and a number of meat plants after he was diagnosed in 2006 as having the disease.
He suffered weight loss, fever, fatigue and significant pain in his left knee after he contracted the disease, it was claimed.
While he has received treatment for it, it remains dormant within his system and can recur at any time, the court heard.
Mr Ryan says he contracted it from having to work in close proximity with dead carcasses and from breathing in the fumes given off by them.
Brucellosis – also known as undulant fever – is a highly contagious disease transmitted from animals to humans and is caused by ingestion of unsterilised milk or meat from infected animals or close contact with their secretions.
He sued his former employers, industrial engineers E Buttimer and Co, of Cahir in Co Tipperary; National By-Products Ltd, operators of a rendering plant in Clonmel, which closed in 2003; and Anglo Irish Beef Processors, operators of two plants in Cahir and Waterford.
He claimed they failed, among other matters, to provide him with a safe place of work or with information and training in relation to working at the meat plants. He claimed he had to work near grinding machines covered in grease and ground animal parts that constantly gave off fumes.
The defendants denied the claim and pleaded contributory negligence.
On what was to be the second day of the action yesterday, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill was told the matter had been settled and could be struck out with an order for costs against Buttimers and the vacating of all other orders against the rest of the defendants.
The court had heard Mr Ryan was employed as a plumber with Buttimers between 1986 and 2009.
It was while working in the Clonmel and Cahir Plans between 2000 and 2001 and in the Waterford plant in 2005 that he contracted the disease, it was claimed.