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Stabbed rail worker loses damages claim

An Irish Rail ticket inspector has lost his High Court action alleging the company failed to provide him with adequate protection from attacks by passengers.

Nigel Broughal (39) of St Anne's Park, Shankhill, Dublin, sued the company for damages arising out of two incidents when he was bitten twice on the leg by one passenger and slashed above his right eye with a Stanley knife by another.

Irish Rail denied negligence and claimed he failed to exercise the care, skill and attention which the company was entitled to expect.

It also said he had received training in appropriate conflict resolution techniques.


The court heard that on St Patrick's Day, 2002, while on duty in Pearse Street station, he was pushed and bitten twice on the leg by a passenger.

He had to get a hepatitis vaccination and and Aids tests had to be carried out over a prolonged period.

The incident involving the Stanley knife took place at Seapoint station on January 23, 2004, when a passenger cut him just above the right eyebrow. He also suffered small lacerations to the back of both his hands.

He returned to work six months after this incident but continues to be upset by it and attends a psychologist.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill dismissed Mr Broughal's case saying he believed the company was not negligent by failing to have security personnel with him during the two incidents.

Given the absence of confrontation right up to the time of the attack with the Stanley knife -- even if a security man had been present -- it was unlikely he would have prevented the injury suffered, the judge said.

The deployment of security personnel at all times of the day could not be considered a reasonable requirement and there was nothing the company could reasonably have done to prevent the injury being done on that occasion, he said.