Wrongful Death Compensation Award of €170,000 for Widow

The widow of pensioner Martin Flannery, who died due to carbon monoxide poisoning has settled a wrongful death compensation action €170,000.

Mr Flannery has gone to check if the petrol generators were switched on to effectively heat a newly constructed building for his niece. The house was being heated in advance of a first fix airtight test.

However, Mr Flannery was discovered unconscious in the house, which was next door to his own hosue in Mayo, in 2015. An official inquest into the death of Martin Flannery (66)  recorded a verdict of accidental death.

At the time the coroner John O’Dwyer said Mr Flannery was merely helping his brother and his niece by checking on the house when the tragic incident occurred. Martin Flannery was found unconscious in a room at the rear of the property and despite efforts to revive him, he was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital.

In the High Court this week Mr Flannery’s widow Eileen, his wife of 42 years , took the wrongful death compensation action against her husband’s niece Laura Costello and her husband Declan Costello also of Kilkeeran, Ballinarobe, Co Mayo in relation to the accident that took place on September 11, 2015.

In the legal action if was claimed there was a failure to have any proper or adequate system of ventilation in place in the building. In addition to this it was claimed the house has been allegedly allowed to become toxic with carbon monoxide fumes and to constitute a serious hazard for those entering the premises. Finally it was also claimed there was an alleged failure to cordon off the house while the generators were in use and until the place had been made safe for those entering the house. The legal representatives for the defence refuted all of these claims.

The High Court was informed that, when the accident occurred, the house was at first fix stage in construction and had an air tight test scheduled for later that day. Prior to that test the house had to be heated and two fan heaters and an oil heater were put in place. These heaters were powered by two petrol generators as electricity had not yet been connected to the house. Both generators had been running for about an hour the night before. They had been powered off overnight.

On  September 11, 2015 the generators were turned and checked on again. Mr Martin Flannery had checked in the generators at 10.30am and was due to check on them again after bringing his wife to the local town. However, when the air tight specialist called to the house to complete the test at approximately 12.30pm he switched off one of the generators.

At this point in time he noticed a strange smell and became dizzy as he went upstairs in the building. Due to this he left the house but when he went back in he found Mr Flannery unconscious in a room at the back. He dragged him (Mr Flannery) outside to try and revive him. However, Mr.Flannery was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Justice Tom Cross approved the €170,000 settlement in the wrongful death compensation.