Two companies face trial following deaths of bridge workers

Stonemasons drowned while working on a bridge in Limerick city

Bryan Whelan’s family – John Paul, John and Margaret Whelan – leave court after hearing the trial will likely last up to two weeks

Bryan Whelan’s family – John Paul, John and Margaret Whelan – leave court after hearing the trial will likely last up to two weeks

 

Two companies are to face trial next March in relation to the deaths of two stonemasons, who drowned while carrying out work on a bridge in Limerick city six years ago.

Father of two Tim “TJ” O’Herlihy (36), from Castleisland, Co Kerry, died alongside his workmate, Bryan Whelan (29), from O’Briensbridge, Co Clare, on August 29th, 2015.

Following an investigation by gardaí and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), prosecutions were brought against Nationwide Crane Hire Limited, with a registered address at Dock Road, Limerick, as well as Palfinger Ireland Limited, registered at Church Hill, Cloncollog, Tullamore, Co Offaly.

Nationwide Crane Hire faces two charges, that it allegedly exposed the workers to risk by failing to ensure a crane and winch, which were mounted on a truck, were in a safe condition; and that, an “overload protection safety device” on the crane was defective, and “did not operate to protect the wire on the winch rope from being overloaded”.

Palfinger Ireland faces a single related charge from March 12th, 2003, the date it imported and supplied the crane to Nationwide Crane Hire, that it allegedly failed to adequately inform Nationwide Crane Hire Ltd about the use for which the crane was designed or provide information about “the carrying out of a functional test of the safety overload protection system”.

At Limerick Circuit Court on Monday, Judge Tom O’Donnell listed the case for trial on March 28th, 2022. The families of both victims, who were present in court, heard that the trial would likely last up to two weeks.