Artist awarded €15,000 for stumble outside pub


A leading Dublin artist, who injured himself when he stumbled over a crate of empties outside a famous Dublin pub, has been awarded €15,000 damages for a neck injury.

Mr John Howard Taylor (73) said the crate of empty bottles had been thrown between his feet from open cellar trapdoors outside O'Neill's public house in Suffolk Street, Dublin.

He told Judge Kevin Haugh that a brewery lorry had been parked up on the footpath but people were walking past between it and the yawning trapdoors. He had not seen any other activity on the footpath prior to the crate being thrown up between his legs from the cellar.

Mr Taylor said the accident occurred in December 1998 and he had been forced by his injury to abandon a Milennium project to build a 40-feet long sea-going Galleon from flotsam and other recycled materials. He had also just completed work on sculpting a series of Stations of the Cross as a personal gift to a Dublin church.

He had suffered wretchedly from pain for more than a year after the accident and had to undergo counseling for pain and stress management, he told the court.

He told Mr John Brennan, counsel for O'Neill's pub, that he had a pre-existing neck pain condition but this had cleared up long before the accident but had been greatly exacerbated.

Judge Haugh said it was clear from security video footage of the incident that Mr Taylor had been caused to stumble and had jarred his neck in regaining his balance.

Due to his pre-existing condition he had suffered symptoms of a sort which would not have affected a man who had been in the whole of his health.

He said Mr Taylor was a bad candidate for such an accident in that the injury had happened at a time when he was not best suited to receive it. However the defendant had to accept him as he found him at the time and he felt appropriate damages for injury, pain and distress was €15,000.