Man rushing to get home for dinner when he lost finger on Luas stop fence

Michael Kelly (43) suing tram operator over injuries suffered in Dundrum in 2012

Michael Kelly is  pictured at the Four Courts on Thursday. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Michael Kelly is pictured at the Four Courts on Thursday. Photograph: Collins Courts.

 

A man who ended up losing a finger after climbing a fence to get to a Luas stop has told the High Court he was trying to get back to a hostel in Dublin city centre in time for his dinner.

Michael Kelly (43) decided to scale the fence as he could not find the entrance to the Dundrum stop on the Luas Green Line on October 20th, 2012. He said he walked up some steps which appeared to provide access to the platform but found there was a locked gate and a fence.

He said he was eager to get back to the city centre as there were strict rules governing meal times at the men’s refuge where he was staying at the time, with lunch served at 1pm. It was put to Mr Kelly he could have turned back when he got to the fence where the accident happened.

“I wanted to get home for my dinner,” he replied.

Mr Kelly, of Clare Village, Malahide Road, Co Dublin, has sued Luas operator TransDev Dublin Light Rail Ltd and Transport Infrastructure Ireland as a result of the accident.

He alleges failure to take any or any reasonable care to see that he would be reasonably safe in using the Dundrum Luas stop premises.

Negligence

The claims are denied and it is pleaded there was contributory negligence on the part of Mr Kelly. The defence says Mr Kelly attempted to access the Luas platform in a reckless and dangerous manner and had not followed a clearly marked and signposted public access route.

It is further alleged Mr Kelly took an allegedly dangerous and hazardous shortcut to access the platform and allegedly used a means of access clearly blocked and prohibited to members of the public.

Under cross-examination by David Nolan SC, with Simon Kearns BL, Mr Kelly said he did not see the sign for the Luas as he walked along the street because there were referendum related posters on a pole.

Mr Kelly said he knew he should not have got over the first barrier but he thought it was the right way. When he got to the second fence at the top of an embankment, he agreed he knew he was in the wrong place.

‘Trapped’

Counsel put it to Mr Kelly that he “decided recklessly” to make the wrong choice. Mr Kelly said he weighed the options and thought it was safer.

“I felt trapped,” he said.

He agreed he made the call that it was safer to go on than to go back and said he did not want to get his clothes dirty.

“I was not expecting to lose my finger,” he added.

When counsel put to Mr Kelly that what he had done was “entirely reckless”, he replied “yes”.

Mr Nolan suggested to Mr Kelly the accident had all to do “with your foolishness “ and he could have stopped at any time out of concern for his safety. Mr Kelly said he admitted he should not have got over the first fence.

The case is expected to conclude before Mr Justice Michael Hanna on Friday.