Fisherman awarded €60,000 in damages for ankle fracture

Christopher Brien was injured after climbing a makeshift gate along a Dargle River path

A fisherman who fractured his ankle after climbing a makeshift gate when his way along a river path was blocked has been awarded €60,000 in damages at the High Court.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said Christopher Brien was unable to return to his fishing hobby for almost a year after the accident, which occurred near the Dargle River in Bray, Co Wicklow.

Mr Brien, of Greenpark Road, Bray, Co Wicklow, had sued SIAC Construction Ltd, Clondalkin, Dublin, in examinership.

He claimed SIAC was negligent in allowing the public right of way to be blocked by a makeshift wooden gate that was nailed in place.


It was claimed that there was a failure to provide a gate that was capable of being opened and closed.

He also alleged failure, on the night of the accident, July 8th, 2013, to give advance warning that the public right of way was blocked.

Mr Justice Cross was told that judgment was previously given against SIAC and that the matter was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Night fishing

In evidence, Mr Brien said he had gone night fishing with a friend and that they caught a few mullets while working their way up and down the Dargle River.

When they finished after midnight, they went to exit the area via the pedestrian access on Seapoint Road at the Dargle Bridge, but the way was blocked by a makeshift gate with a plank of plywood nailed to it, he said.

He attempted to get over it but his foot became caught and he fell.

He said he spent three weeks in hospital and that walking more than two miles now causes difficulty for him.

He could not take up fishing again for nearly a year after the accident, he said.

Awarding €60,000, Mr Justice Cross said Mr Brien impressed him as an honest witness who was not able to take up his hobby for a year and also now had arthritis.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times