Sergeant suffered painful eye injuries when tyre exploded

Aodhan O'Faolain

AN army sergeant suffered injuries to his eyes after a tyre on an armoured vehicle he was examining exploded, the High Court heard.

Quartermaster Sgt Martin Bolger (44), from Thomastown in Co Kilkenny, was on UN duty in Liberia in July 2006 when the tyre of a Mowag armoured personnel carrier blew.

He was just inches away from the tyre at the time, which he was examining after noticing a bulge. The vehicles were being inspected by Sgt Bolger before they went out on patrol.

Yesterday he told the court that the bang was so loud that others thought the base was under mortar fire.

As a result of the incident, Sgt Bolger claims that he suffered significant injuries to his eyes, as well as injuries to his hearing and balance.

He is seeking damages alleging negligence and breach of duty of care against the Minister for Defence, Ireland and the Attorney General.


Liability has been admitted and the case is before the High Court only for assessment of damages.

Sgt Bolger told the court that, after the tyre exploded, he was subsequently diagnosed with injuries including Residual Erosion Syndrome, a painful condition that affects the cornea of the eye. His sleeping has also been affected.

The court heard that while the sergeant, who has been in the defence forces for more than 20 years, including several stints abroad, has remained in the army, he has been undergoing continual medical treatment for his eye condition.

He claims that, as a result of his injuries, his medical status within the defence forces has been downgraded.

As a result, Sgt Bolger said he was turned down for two other overseas tours with the defence forces on medical grounds.

The case continues.