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Hanafin's mum makes compo claim after she falls in Leinster House

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One of the biggest critics of the compensation culture, Minister Mary Hanafin, has refused to comment after her mother won damages follwing a fall at Leinster House.

Ms Hanafin's mother has settled a personal injuries claim against the State after the fall while on a visit to Government buildings in 2007.

Mona Hanafin brought the case in late 2007, naming the Taoiseach, Ireland and the Attorney General as defendants in her claim.

It was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount on January 22.



Ludicrous

The claim arose nearly four years after Mary Hanafin, then the minister for education, hit out at an emerging compensation culture in Irish schools.

"Children will run, children will fall and children will hurt themselves," said Ms Hanafin, who is now the Minister for Social Welfare. It was "ludicrous" that some schools were introducing no-running policies in the playground due to fear of litigation, she added.

After several adjourned court dates, Mona Hanafin's action was settled by her Leixlip-based solicitors Paul Kelly & Co.

The extent of her injuries is not known.

A spokeswoman for the minister told the Herald the Fianna Fail TD did not make any comment at all on the claim.

"The minister did not make any comment, just that it's a private matter for her mother," she added.

Mona Hanafin is a devoted follower of Padre Pio.

She supported the construction of a community college in Athy, Co Kildare, last year.

Speaking on RTE radio, she said she would pray to St Pio to ask him to expedite the construction of the school.

In 2005, Mary Hanafin said parents should not look for others to blame if their child falls.

"There is absolutely no reason why there should be a 'no-running' policy in schools," Ms Hanafin said.

"Parents are going to have to realise that if they want their children to be able to lead normal lives, it is not always someone else's fault if they fall," she added.



Rank

Compared with other countries, Ireland ranks near the top of the litigation league table with the number of insurance claims made for personal injury coming close to levels seen in the US.

Since 2002, there has been a decline in the number of cases against the state.

Claims against employers have fallen by 88pc, and personal liability claims have dropped by 58pc.

At the time, the State Claims Agency was dealing with 2,470 employer liability/public liability/ property damage claims, which, it was estimated, could cost the State €115m.

comurphy@herald.ie


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