Couple settle actions over injuries suffered when lift plummeted three floors

Court told lift descent was ‘a very violent drop to the floor’

Ms O’Leary, when aged 37 in 2016, had to retire from An Garda Síochána on medical grounds. File photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

Ms O’Leary, when aged 37 in 2016, had to retire from An Garda Síochána on medical grounds. File photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

 

A couple who were injured when a lift in a Co Kerry hotel plummeted three floors to the basement have settled their High Court actions on confidential terms.

The settlements were reached on Thursday in cases brought by Patricia O’Leary, a former Garda Sergeant, and her husband Andrew Meehan, also a Garda Sergeant, over the incident at the Killarney Plaza Hotel in 2011.

Ms O’Leary told the court earlier this week she felt her leg breaking on impact and had to be cut from the lift wreckage. She described the descent of the lift as “a very violent drop to the floor.”

She and her husband are among five plaintiffs from the same extended family who sued over the accident which occurred as they tried to return to their rooms in the hotel after a wedding ceremony elsewhere on July 9th, 2011.

Ms O’Leary, when aged 37 in 2016, had to retire from An Garda Síochána on medical grounds.

On the third day of her action on Thursday, Mr Justice Michael Hanna was told her case had settled and the court could begin to hear her husband’s s case.

After talks between the sides, the judge was later told Mr Meehan’s case had also settled.

Ms O’Leary and her husband, of Co Meath, along with the latter’s brothers, Paul and Kevin Meehan, and Kevin’s wife Jennie Wong, sued the hotel owners, Shawcove Ltd with registered offices at Castleisland, Co Kerry and companies involved in installing and maintaining lifts Ellickson Engineering Ltd, in receivership, and Kilell Ltd, both of Kilmurry, Waterford; Otis Ltd, Naas Road Business Park, Dublin, and Otis Elevator Ireland Ltd, of the same address; and lift components manufacturer Daldoss Elevetronic Spa of Valsugana, Italy.

They claimed failure to ensure the intended pathway from the car park was safe and free from hazard and failure to install a proper functioning lift from the car park to the hotel.

The court heard liability was conceded in 2019 and the cases are before the court for assessment of damages only.

Richard Kean SC, with Barney Quirke SC, for the plaintiffs, said Ellickson Engineering Ltd, now in receivership, was fined €750,000 in 2017 after it was found guilty at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court of a single breach of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act over the installation of the hotel lift in and around April 2004.

The court will on Friday begin to hear the remaining three cases.