Woman who called ticket inspector a ‘fat bastard’ loses damages claim
Dublin mother sought €50,000 for defamation against Irish Rail
Carmel Monaghan, of Clanmoyle Road, Donnycarney, Dublin leaving the Four Courts after a Circuit Civil Court hearing. Photograph: Courts Collins
An unemployed Dublin mother, who referred to a train ticket inspector as a “fat bastard” when he enquired about her allegedly defaced free travel pass, has lost a €50,000 damages claim for defamation.
Carmel Monaghan (41) told Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, that she had been travelling from Tralee to Cork with her son Jack in January last year when Michael Marshall had checked her ticket.
Ms Monaghan told the Circuit Civil Court she showed Mr Marshall her ticket, along with her travel pass, which she said she held for medical reasons and which was in a plastic pouch with a Social Welfare photo identification card.
She told Gerard O’Herlihy, solicitor for Irish Rail, that Mr Marshall had asked her several times if the pass belonged to her and had asked for a back-up identity document.
Ms Monaghan, of Clanmoyle Road, Donnycarney, Dublin, denied that her documents had been marked with white Tippex correction fluid which was hiding her name and address. She also denied that her plastic identity card had been cut at the corners.
Ms Monaghan said the ticket inspector had kept her documents and she since had to apply for new ones. In conversation with her son she had called Mr Marshall a “fat bastard” after he had walked off with her pass.
Mr Marshall had said her pass did not look real and had been defaced. She claimed he knocked her to the side of the train when she had bent down to lift the pass which had fallen to the floor. She had been “embarrassed and mortified” by what had happened in front of others.
The inspector told the court that while on the train he had called the Free Travel Section of the Department of Social Welfare and had been instructed to hold on to the documents.
He said Ms Monaghan had been aggressive and abusive towards him as he tried to explain to her why he needed to keep them. He denied having knocked her over.
Judge Groarke, who heard that the inspector had called Ms Monaghan to join him in a vestibule, said Mr Marshall was entitled to check and keep her documents. He dismissed her claim and made no order regarding the legal costs.