Journalist settles action over trip on steps at Helix Theatre

Kenneth Sweeney of ‘Irish Sun’ dislocated elbow after slipping on step at Christmas panto

Kenneth Sweeney: settled case at the Four Courts. Photograph: Collins Courts

Kenneth Sweeney: settled case at the Four Courts. Photograph: Collins Courts


A journalist who dislocated his elbow after tripping on a step at the Helix Theatre while attending a Christmas panto has settled his action on undisclosed terms.

Irish Sun journalist Kenneth Sweeney (52), Newtownparks, Skerries, Co Dublin, has sued Dublin City University, Collins Avenue, Glasnevin, the operators of the theatre, over the incident on November 30th, 2014.

He alleged failure to warn users of the stairs of a tripping hazard by proper and adequate warning signs or markings and by proper and adequate illumination.

The claims were denied.

In evidence on Tuesday, Mr Sweeney said he fell on the side aisle steps as he left the performance of Cinderella after 30 minutes to go to the toilet.

Mr Sweeney, who was sitting at the front of the Helix with his family, said he got up to walk up the steps.

He said he did not locate the first step, fell unexpectedly on to his side and was immediately in a lot of pain.

The second step was lit up but the first step was not, he said.

‘Tough’ Christmas

He was taken to hospital where it emerged he had dislocated his elbow, was in a cast for eight weeks, including on Christmas Day, and it was “a tough Christmas”.

Mr Justice Michael Hanna said the issue was whether there was “a disguised step”.

In cross-examination, Mr Sweeney agreed he had been at the Helix on many occasions and agreed he had signed an accident report form as he waited for the ambulance.

When counsel put to him the form referred to him “rushing out of the theatre”, Mr Sweeney said he was going at a normal speed and he did not say he was rushing.

Karl Searson, an engineer for Mr Sweeney’s side, said the first step was not visible or discernible.

On Wednesday, Mr Justice Michael Hanna was told the case had been settled.