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Hotel says sorry to woman who caught Legionnaires' at spa

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Mary Kelleher outside court

Mary Kelleher outside court

Mary Kelleher outside court

A hotel and a water treatment company have apologised in the High Court to a woman who contracted Legionnaires' disease after using the spa facilities of a five-star hotel.

The apology was read out on behalf of the Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney, Co Kerry, and NCH Ireland, trading as Chem Aqua, to Mary Kelleher, who got the disease after staying in the Muckross Park to celebrate her silver wedding anniversary.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the case had been settled.

Eoin Clifford SC, for the defendants, in a statement apologised sincerely to Ms Kelleher.

"We wish to assure Ms Kelleher, as the owners of the hotel we have made significant investment in the facilities and a best practice legionella prevention programme since we purchased the hotel in 2015," it said.

"The hotel has implemented substantial changes to ensure that there is no recurrence of this event. We do not underestimate the profound distress and impact that this has had, and continues to have, on her life."

The details of the settlement are confidential.

Outside court, Ms Kelleher said she was lucky to be alive today, but she would have to "live with the consequences of contracting Legionnaires' disease for the rest of my life".

In a statement read by her solicitor, Amy Connolly, she said she contracted Legionnaires' disease in the hotel and spent three weeks in an induced coma in intensive care "critically ill and fighting for my life".

"What upsets me most is that my illness could have been prevented," she said.

"I hope that by highlighting this issue, the hospitality industry will sit up and take note that Legionnaires' disease is a very real risk to all customers."

Spa operators need "to be alert to the dangers lurking in their water systems" and she hoped her story would raise awareness about the disease.

Aching

"People who go to a spa in Ireland should expect to leave it as healthy as when they entered," the statement said.

Ms Kelleher, of Waterfall, Co Cork, said she had tried all the spa facilities and after she and her husband Jer checked out, they were "on top of the world".

Within days, she was feeling unwell, her muscles were aching and she was very tired.

She went to the doctor and a viral infection was suspected.

Following a second visit, she was told she had pneumonia and was transferred to hospital.

"I can remember being admitted and put in a ward but I don't remember anything else," she said.

Liability was admitted in the case.


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