PUBLICANS who served drink to a man later involved in a crash, killing himself and a young woman, should be made liable for damages which have to be paid out as a result, the High Court has heard.
John Connolly (79) of Kinlough, Leitrim, was allegedly served five to six pints of beer at the Diamond Bar, Tullaghan, Leitrim, before he drove on the wrong side of the road hitting another vehicle on the afternoon of March 31, 2005.
His estate is entitled to an indemnity, or a contribution, from pub proprietors, Seamus and Concepta Kelly, for a €275,000 damages claim brought against the estate by the driver of another vehicle involved in the crash, it is claimed.
The case, which is being fully contested by the Kellys, was described by the publicans' lawyers as "ground breaking" in which an attempt was being made to "blame somebody else" for the collision which was Mr Connolly's fault.
The court heard Mr Connolly was killed when his vehicle collided with a car, in which the driver Mary Flanagan was injured and her daughter Anne McSorley from Antrim Road, Belfast, was killed.
It occurred at Bunduff Bridge on the main Sligo to Bundoran Road. Mr Connolly and Ms McSorley were pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Connolly had been drinking at the Diamond Bar between 11.30am and 3.30pm.
It is claimed the Kellys were negligent and in breach of duty of care by serving alcohol to Mr Connolly when they ought to have known that he would be driving.
It is further claimed that the Kellys did not take any adequate steps to to prevent Mr Connolly from driving when they ought to have known that he was intoxicated, and that they continued to serve him when he was unfit to drive.
Tests revealed that Mr Connolly was between two and half and three times over the legal drink driving limit. He lived about four miles away from the pub and was a regular there. Counsel said he was served pints by both Mr and Mrs Kelly, who knew or ought to have known that he intended to drive when he was unfit to do so.
The case continues.