Bus Éireann apologises for death of haulage worker

Company accepts responsibility after man died when 10,000-litre oil tank fell on him

Liudas Padagas of Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, died in the incident which occurred while he was delivering the tank to a CIE/Bus Éireann depot in Ballina, Co Mayo, on April 14th, 2011. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Liudas Padagas of Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, died in the incident which occurred while he was delivering the tank to a CIE/Bus Éireann depot in Ballina, Co Mayo, on April 14th, 2011. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Bus Éireann has apologised at the High Court over the tragic death of a haulage worker after a 10,000-litre oil tank fell on him while it was being unloaded at a transport depot.

Liudas Padagas (50) of Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, originally from Lithuania, died in the incident which occurred while he was delivering the tank to a CIE/Bus Éireann depot in Ballina, Co Mayo, on April 14th, 2011.

The incident happened when a teleporter was unloading the tank. It fell on Mr Padagas, causing fatal injuries.

His widow, Rita Padagiene, Woodville, Carrickmacross, sued the bus company and four other firms arising out of the incident.

The case opened before Mr Justice Anthony Barr and following talks was settled on Thursday.

The settlement is against Bus Éireann which said it wanted to apologise to Ms Padagiene and her two children over the death of Mr Padagas.

Opening the case for the family, Liam Reidy SC, said Bus Éireann previously accepted responsibility over the death when the company pleaded guilty in the District Court to breaching health and safety law. It had also accepted no blame attached to Mr Padagas.

Bus Éireann had, in this case, “attempted to deflect liability” towards the other defendant companies including Mr Padagas’s employer, counsel said.

Mr Padagas worked for Charles O’Reilly Haulage, Shercock, Co Cavan, which was also sued.

The company which supplied the teleporter for the tank unloading, Vincent Ruane Construction Ltd of Ballina, was also a defendant as were the tank suppliers, Elmore Group Ltd, and the tank manufacturers, McB Tanks Ltd.

Mr Reidy said as a result of Bus Éireann’s allegation that Mr Padagas did not stay outside the safety zone for the unloading, when in fact no such exclusion zone was in place, his client was also seeking exemplary damages.

In her action, Ms Padagiene, whose children are aged 19 and 26, claimed the defendants were negligent in failing, among other breaches, to have any or adequate regard for Mr Padagas’s safety.

At Ballina District Court last September Bus Éireann, was fined €3,000, plus €10,571 costs, after pleading guilty to failing to ensure Mr Padagas was not exposed to safety risks.

It also expressed regret and sympathy to the deceased’s family and said new health and safety measures were put in place since the incident.