Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation Claim for a Fatal Accident at Work

Mr Justice Kevin Cross has approved a €500,000 settlement of a compensation claim for a fatal accident at work made by the widow of a man killed in 2008.

Declan Byrne (31) from Ballyhaunis in County Mayo was working on the construction of a gym at the Connacht Sportsground in Galway on 30th April 2008 when the tragic accident happened. Due to the blockwork of the construction being at an advanced stage, Declan had chosen to use a scaffold and bottle jack – rather than a teleporter or a crane – to support a 1.4 tonne steel beam while he realigned it.

When Declan removed the last of the six bolts holding the beam in place, the beam fell on him – causing him to suffer fatal injuries. An investigation into Declan´s death resulted in charges being brought against his employer – CDM Steel Ltd – but the company were acquitted from alleged breaches of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act at a hearing of Galway Circuit Criminal Court in 2013.

At the end of the criminal hearing, Judge Rory McCabe was critical of CDM Steel Ltd for failing to have a construction supervisor on the site and for an “appalling lack of communication” that contributed to Declan´s death. Subsequently, Declan´s widow – Dolores – sought legal advice and made a compensation claim for a fatal accident at work against CDM Steel Ltd and three other defendants.

The defendants denied that their negligence had resulted in Declan´s death and the case was scheduled to be heard at the High Court. However, prior to the case being heard, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was informed that a settlement of the compensation claim for a fatal accident at work had been agreed amounting to €500,000.

Judge Cross approved the settlement and told the family that, although the settlement of the compensation claim for a fatal accident at work was a good one – and that he was happy to approve it – “nothing can replace what you have lost”.