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 Sein Fein councillor Christy Burke. Picture: Damien Eagers

Sein Fein councillor Christy Burke. Picture: Damien Eagers

Sein Fein councillor Christy Burke. Picture: Damien Eagers

DUBLIN local authorities have paid out more than €15m for footpath falls in only five years.

Trips, slips, falls and bumps on our city's streets have hit the taxpayers' pockets hard, with 283 footpath injury claims paid out since 2009 by the capital's councils.

An investigation by the Herald can reveal that three of the councils have collectively paid out €14,746,835 over the past five years.

North Inner-City local area representative Christy Burke said that this was an "appalling, disgusting sum" and a complete "waste of taxpayers' money".

HIGHER

And it is likely that this figure is significantly higher, with one local authority, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, unable to provide specific details of its payouts for footpath falls.

City bosses have provided a list of the streets where most incidents occurred.

The capital's main thoroughfare – O'Connell Street – had a total of eight recorded incidents since 2009.

Five payouts were made last year over incidents in Grafton Street.

One of Dublin's premier shopping areas, the pedestrian-only route is currently undergoing a makeover, with the whole street being re-paved at a cost of more tan €4m.

Mr Burke told the Herald that since he was informed of the payouts total, he has called on City Manager Owen Keegan to try to recoup some of the money where the cause of the incidents was a result of contractual work that was not finished to a professional standard.

"It goes to show that it would pay to monitor and identify defective pathways and paths in the city to avoid such an appalling sum of money being burdened on the taxpayer," Mr Burke said.

Solicitor Broderick Tyrrell of Lawyer.ie said that it is often the case that the footpath remains unrepaired even after an incident is reported.

"I had a case where a man was awarded €20,000 after tripping on an exposed cable in the city centre, and after writing to the council on numerous occasions it was still not removed," he said.

Mr Tyrrell added that "most accidents are wholly avoidable".

He said that most claims are because of broken limbs, and that many of these complaints now go to the Personal Injuries Board (PIB).

The state agency confirmed it receives up to 30,000 claims a year, and that many of these are "certainly" from "people tripping on footpaths".

Dublin City Council was hit with the biggest bill of all of the four local bodies – 143 footpath incidents resulted in a payout of close to €12.5m.

The South Dublin local authorities revealed that they have paid out €1.4m for 75 claimed accidents relating to trips or falls.

Fingal County Council has paid out €842,000 for 65 incidents since 2009, and said that there were "no specific locations" for which these claims were made.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) alone has paid out more than €9m for 732 public liability claims since that year.

A spokesperson for DLRCC said that it was unable to provide an exact breakdown of the number of injuries specifically relating to footpaths.

The local authority could not identify specific locations where the accidents occurred, and said that they were "spread around the county".

CUTBACKS

Mr Burke revealed that he has identified a number of roads in Dublin which he has reported to the city's authoritative body already this year, but was informed that "there was no money in this year's budget due to cutbacks".

"It's an absolutely disgusting burden, and an absolutely unacceptable amount to the taxpayer," he added.

He believes that one particularly problematic road he has flagged up with the city bosses could potentially cost the taxpayer millions of euro in claims this year alone.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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