Toxic Chemical Personal Injuries Lead to Death of Air Corps Members’ Children According to Whistleblower Allegations

A protected disclosure alleging that children of Air Corps workers lost their lives due to toxic chemical personal injury at Baldonnel Airfield has been made by a Defence Forces whistleblower.

Previously in 2017 a document was published to the public in which a worker employed by the Defence Forces claimed to have proof of the “the untimely deaths of at least 20 adults…of which I believe died of illness related to unprotected chemical exposure”.

Included in this dossier were evidence that the death of a newborn girl happened due to ventricular septal defect (heart defect), a five year old boy died while having surgery to address a ‘malrotated intestine’ and a girl aged 15 died after contracting Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of cancer and her father is suffering from leukaemia at present.

There have been claims made about the effects of chemical exposure on the wives of members of the defence forces. A mechanic, who previously worked with the Air Corps, noticed that a number of these women had experienced more than one miscarriages and in one particular case, a woman had eight consecutive miscarriages. An independent third party, former civil servant Christopher O’Toole, was appointed by the Minister for Defence in 2016, to investigate the allegations

Leader of Fianna Fáil Mr Micheál Martin said he believes a Commission of Investigation is now necessary. He stated “The situation is far from satisfactory because with his opening comments the report’s author is essentially saying he cannot fulfill the terms of reference. From the Government’s point of view they established this review, they must have known the terms of reference could not be fulfilled. It’s farcical.”

Although the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) have advised that procedures into risk assessment need to be reviewed, a whistleblower has said that these steps are “too little, too late”,especially in the case of those who have lost family members or who have developed life-changing illnesses and injuries.

There have been allegations issued that these deaths are due to organizational failure on the part of the Defence Forces which meant that Air Corps personnel were exposed to toxic chemicals. The Defence Forces are now facing Toxic Chemical Personal Injuries compensation actions by some former employees. The Defence Forces have released a statement stating, “Given these matters are subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

 

 

Mouth Injury Compensation of €30,000 for Garda Injured While at Work

A garda, Sean Kelly aged 31 who is due to be married next weekend, has been awarded €30,000 mouth injury compensation after he was assaulted while at work on January 7 2012.

Garda Kelly,  said that he is still sensitive about a scar on his upper lip and advised Mr Justice Bernard Barton he was still paranoid about the star-shaped scar. Despite this he was still able to joke to the the judge that he may have to don some make-up when he gets married next Saturday.

The incident happened just under five years ago when he was on duty. Counsel for Garda Kelly, Barrister Fiona Gallagher, advised the High Court that he had been called to a house in Finglas regarding a man who, had just been released from a psychiatric institution where he had been treated. He was threatening to self harm. Garda Kelly was accompanied by two colleagues.

Garda Kelly stated that the individual, who had swallowed large amounts of non-prescriptive medication, had shut himself in his bathroom. From there he was threatening to jump from the bathroom window. When they tried to apprehend the man Garda Kelly was struck on his mouth with a toilet brush holder, which lacerated his lip, in the resulting melee.

Garda Kelly had to be taken to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown to be treated immediately due to the major bleeding that followed. When he was treated, a piece of porcelain was found to be still stuck in his upper lip. X-rays showed he had not been inflicted with any major fractures.

After this he was given an anaesthetic injection and received seven stitches, many of them on the inside of his mouth. Later, when the scar later became infected, he had to follow a course of antibiotics until the infection was cured. The scar on the outside of his lip was noticeable at close distance and he was still very paranoid about it.

Barrister Derek Ryan, Counsel for the Minister for Public Expenditure, advised the High Court that, due to the results of conflicting medical reports, he did not feel Garda Kelly had suffered Post Traumatic Stress to the degree that there should be an exceptional compensation award.

State Healthcare Employees Make Five Sexual Harassment Claims Against Patients

Five employees working in the State healthcare system filed sexual harassment claims over the last number of years, believing they were assaulted by patients, according to details in a recent media report.

The State Claims Agency has not published specific details about where the claimed abuse took place in these or any other separate cases.

The claims are in connection to incidents that took place between 2012 and 2016 and encompass almost half of all sexual harassment claims being managed by the State Claims Agency for the State.

Up until recently, the State Claims Agency had declined to release any further information on such claims.

There have been calls from political party Fianna Fail and the Oireachtas Justice Committee for the State Claims Agency to release a detailed breakdown of all sexual harassment claims made against individual public sector bodies. This comes after the original refusal by the State Claims Agency to release such a breakdown, by employer and sector, of all the sexual harassment claims which it manages for the State.

The Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee made contact with Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan during November to ask him to back a call for the data to be published. After this the State Claims Agency published a small amount of information on the number of such sexual harassment claims. However, it did not state where the claims originated from specifically.

In an official statement published it said that the State Claims Agency has managed 11 individual claims of sexual harassment in the workplace, which it stated was “referable to three State Authorities, inclusive of all Delegated Healthcare Agencies, in the years 2012 to 2016”.

It also stated that in six of the cases they’ve managed the claimed assailant and victim are both employees. In the other five cases they said the person allegedly responsible for the assault was a service user in the healthcare sector and the victim was a employee.

The State Claims Agency (SCA) stated “The claims that the SCA handle, of this nature, are claims which are wholly or mainly ones seeking compensation for injury (mental or physical).”

 

Personal Injury Compensation of €1,000 Offered for Charleville Show Assault

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin judge issued a stark warning to a teenager accused of breaking another youth’s jaw in an assault that has resulted in an order to pay €1,000 personal injury compensation.

After no offer of compensation was made at the court heaing last week, Judge Ó Donnabháin advised the accused youth that he would want to “wakey wakey” in terms of compensation.

The youth returned to court yesterday and there was €1,000 offered by way of personal injury compensation according to Legal Counsel for the defendant, Dermot Sheehan. Subsequently the judge adjourned sentencing until November 20 with the accused remanded on bail.

The assault took place at Charleville Show on June 26, 2016 when one young man headbutted the victim to the left side of his jaw and walked away. He, (the defendant) then approached the victim and struck him with a closed fist on the same side of his face. As a result of this the victim suffered a serious injury to his jaw. In the treatment that followed he had to have two plates and splints inserted into his jaw and he also lost some teeth.

Mr Sheehan advised the Court that said the accused, who is not named as he is a juvenile, suffers from health issues. Having read the report produced Judge Ó Donnabháin commented that: “He has not got health issues, he has behavioural issues.”

At the original hearing last week, the judge believed that it was unreasonable for the accused to appear before Cork Circuit Criminal Court with no compensation offer prepared.

Cost of Compensation Claims taken Against the State Increase to €2.2bn

Following another busy year for personal injury claims the overall amount of money paid out in compensation claims against the State increased by almost a fifth to €2.2 billion by the end of 2016.

In a report released by the State Claims Agency at the end of September there is more evidence that the cost of the compensation claims taken against the State has continued to increase. The State Claims Agency is the body is responsible for managing legal cases brought against the State.

By the end of last year the approximate cost of outstanding compensation actions against the State had grown by €400m to €2.2 billion, an increase of 22 per cent, during the 12 months of 2016.

Notable Increases Shown in Stage Claims Agency Release

  • 8,900 legal compensation actions were classified as pending against the State at the end of 2016. This figure was just 6,000 in 2011.
  • A 24% increase, from the 2015 figures, in legal actions was experienced.
  • There were approximately 2,300 legal actions against the State during 2016..

Other reasons for the increase include a recent Supreme Court ruling. This ruling stated that compensation sums paid to anyone who successfully sues for damages should be higher as the returns on the cash they are due to receive have fallen. This resulted in increased amounts awarded in compensation.

The State Claims Agency, established in 2001 handles personal injury, clinical negligence and property damage claims taken against State bodies. It is part of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).

The NTMA is responsible for the National Assets Management Agency (Nama) and New Era, which oversees commercial State companies.

Compensation Settlement of €25,000 Aprroved Following Fall in Tayto Park

An injury compensation claim, resulting from a boy (8) falling from a playground tower at Tayto Park in 2012, has been settled for €25,000 in the High Court.

Now aged 13, Conor Bolger of Briarfield Road, Kilbarrack, sued Ashbourne Visitor Centre Ltd, Co Meath trading as Tayto Park, through his father Brian Bolger due the the injuries he suffered in the incident on March 25, 2012. Conor had to undergo surgery to have pins inserted in his lower arm which he fractured near his elbow

Mr Bolger’s Legal team argued that the playground tower was overcrowded and Conor fell due to this. Additionally, they said, the area on the ground surrounding the tower, one of the main attractions in the park at the time of the incident, was not adequately covered by protective wood chips when the fall occurred. It was also alleged that there was not a sufficient system of constant inspections and safety checks implemented at Tayto Park at the time of the incident. Had this been in place it would have been seen that the protection was not adequate at prior to the fall.

He (Conor) fractured his left elbow as a result in the fall and had his elbow was in a cast for a month. Pins were inserted below his elbow during an operation.

David McGrath SC stated that Ashbourne Visitor Centre (Tayto Park) denied the claims and argued that Mr Bolger was climbing the playground tower when he simply “just fell”. Mr McGrath SC claimed that there was no inadequacy with the structure of the tower itself.  Despite this Counsel advised the High Court that the Bolger family were satisfied with proposed settlement of €25,000 for playground accident compensation.

High Court Justice Kevin Cross approved the proposed compensation settlement, commenting that the scar on Mr Bolger’s elbow was not “too upsetting” and that Conor, a basketball player, could have had his enjoyment of the sport damaged due to the injuries experienced.

Claim for a Hospital Fall Injury Heard in Court

A woman, who fractured her spine after falling out of bed, has successfully made a claim for a hospital fall injury at a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court.

The woman – who lives in Finglas, Dublin – made her claim for a hospital fall injury following her accident at the Mater Hospital in April 2015. The woman had attended the hospital as a day patient for a routine gastroscopy procedure. However, as she was recovering from the procedure, she attempted to get out of bed and fell – suffering a fractured spine.

Her injury resulted in an extended stay at the Mater Hospital before being transferred to the Incorporated Orthopaedic Hospital in Clontarf for specialised treatment. She remained in Clontarf Hospital for three months before being removed by her daughter who was concerned about her wellbeing.

After seeking legal advice, the woman made a claim for a hospital fall injury against the Mater Hospital; alleging she had been left alone to recover after the procedure, which – as she had previously been hospitalised following a fall at her home – was in contravention of the hospital´s own falls prevention policy.

Her claim went to the Circuit Civil Court, where it was heard by Judge James O´Donohoe. At the hearing, the judge was told the accident had a serious effect on the plaintiff´s quality of life. Rather than cope with most things by herself, as she had done prior to her accident, the woman now had to wear a lumbar brace and walks with the assistance of a Zimmer frame.

An expert witness on behalf of the plaintiff testified the hospital had failed in its duty of care to the plaintiff by failing to adhere to its falls prevention policy and a representative of the hospital explained how the accident happened. However, the hospital´s representative could not tell Judge O´Donohoe why the nurse who first attended the plaintiff after her fall had not been called to give evidence.

Commenting that the nurse´s absence “speaks volumes” the judge found in the plaintiff´s favour and awarded her €58,500 compensation in settlement of her claim for a hospital fall injury. The judge granted a request to place a stay on the award pending a possible appeal, but ordered that €30,000 of the compensation settlement was paid immediately.

Woman Awarded Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries

A woman has been awarded more than €234,000 compensation for dog bite injuries she sustained in a terrifying attack by two powerful boxer dogs.

The unnamed woman was enjoying an evening walk along a rural lane when the attack happened. Two boxer dogs, who had been standing in the driveway of their owner´s home, started to approach her. The woman told them to go home, but they jumped up at her, knocked her to the ground, and started attacking her.

The woman´s first thoughts were to protect her face by covering it with her arms, but the dogs managed to get through her defences – biting her face, head, forearms and body, and causing multiple puncture wounds and lacerations that have now developed into visible and permanent scars.

The attack was stopped by a passing lady motorist, who sounded the horn of her car and frightened the dogs away. The boxer dogs have since been destroyed and their owners admitted liability when the woman made a claim for compensation for dog bite injuries. In order to settle the claim, the case went to the High Court for an assessment of damages.

At the assessment hearing, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told the details of the attack. The judge also heard evidence from medical experts who attested to her physical and emotional injuries. When the woman gave her evidence, she told the judge who she had been devastated by the change in her appearance and how her young children had been frightened to get close to her.

Judge Barr was shown photographs of the woman taken shortly before and after the attack, and he accepted she had undergone a profound change in her appearance, personality and mental state as a result. The judge also acknowledge she had suffered a moderate level of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Awarding the woman €234,557 compensation for dog bite injuries, the judge said he was confident she had had not exaggerated the injuries she had sustained nor embellished the details of the terrifying attack.

Man Sentenced for Historic Child Abuse

A man from County Clare has been given a suspended prison sentence of fifteen months for the historic child abuse of a fourteen-year-old boy in 1976.

The incident occurred in June 1976 at a campsite outside of Cheekpoint – a small village on the River Suir, approximately twelve kilometres outside of Waterford. The victim was one of a small group of teenage boys that had arrived in Waterford earlier in the day and been taken to the campsite by their scout leader.

Later that evening, the scout leader – who cannot be named as it would identify the victim – beckoned to the fourteen-year-old boy to come closer to his tent and, as the boy approached, he was pulled inside of the tent. The scout leader then started tickling him and touching him inappropriately. The boy did not report the historic child abuse until 2013.

When questioned by the gardaí, the former scout leader – who is now 73 years of age and lives in County Clare – admitted that he might have touched the boy inappropriately and was charged with historic child abuse. He subsequently resigned from UCC´s Board of Management and was placed on the sexual offenders list. He also paid his victim more than €7,500 compensation.

At the sentencing hearing at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Eugene O´Kelly heard the offender describe the event as “an isolated incident from many years ago” for which he was extremely sorry. The judge was also told the former scout leader had no former convictions and – due to being placed on the sexual offenders list – no longer has access to his grandchildren.

The court was also read a victim impact statement in which it was claimed the victim – now 54 years of age – had suffered nightmares as a result of the historic child abuse and, later in life, had drunk heavily – causing his business to suffer as a result. The victim´s legal representative told the court he has been taking anti-depressants for the past twenty-eight years.

Judge O´Kelly initially sentenced the former scout leader to twenty months in prison – reducing the sentence to fifteen months and suspending it for three years due to a “significant element of remorse” and the fact that the historic child abuse took place more than forty years ago.

Advice about Compensation for Noise Induced Hearing Loss

A settlement of injury compensation for noise induced hearing loss should take into account the consequences of the injury on your quality of life.

If you have suffered damage to your hearing due to an employer´s failure to provide a safe environment for you to work in, you will be eligible to claim compensation for noise induced hearing loss. The usual process for this is to apply to the Injuries Board for an assessment of your claim and support your application with a report from your doctor explaining the extent of your injury.

It is also important you communicate the consequences of your injury as well. The Injuries Board can only assess your application based on the information provided. If you fail to mention your quality of life has deteriorated and you have less self-confidence than previously because of your injury, the Injuries Board will be unaware of these factors and not account for them in the assessment of your claim.

The consequences of your injury will have to be supported with documentary evidence wherever possible for the consequences of your injury to be considered in the assessment of compensation for noise induced hearing loss. In many cases this can be difficult, and is why you should seek legal advice from an injury solicitor with experience of submitting applications for assessment to the Injuries Board.

In order to get a full understanding of how your noise induced hearing loss has affected your quality of life, your solicitor will ask you to keep a diary and record the times when your loss of hearing has made a noticeable difference to your quality of life. This may be when you find it hard to watch a film on TV, follow a conversation in a pub, or enjoy an outing with your family.

Your solicitor will help you complete the application to the Injuries Board to ensure these factors are included in their assessment, and to ensure you receive an appropriate settlement of injury compensation for noise induced hearing loss. If you are unable to speak over the phone with a solicitor because of the extent of your injury, you can have somebody call on your behalf or arrange a home visit.