Publican settles case over fall down lift shaft

Fergus Kilcoyne was viewing property when he fell ‘into the void’ in Limerick premises

Fergus Kilcoyne from Patrickswell, Co Limerick, at the Four Courts on Wednesday for a High Court action. Photograph: Collins Courts

Fergus Kilcoyne from Patrickswell, Co Limerick, at the Four Courts on Wednesday for a High Court action. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A publican who fell seven feet down an alleged unprotected lift shaft 13 years ago as he viewed a property has settled his High Court action.

Fergus Kilcoyne, elected earlier this year as an Independent Councillor in Limerick, was viewing a property in the city which was under construction when the accident happened in 2006. Paul Burns SC told the court there was only limited light from the stairwell in the property basement and Mr Kilcoyne, who was using the light from his mobile phone, fell “into the void” and suffered a displaced fracture of his upper arm.

Mr Kilcoyne, Barnakyle, Patrickswell, Co Limerick, had sued the property owner, Margaret Keating of Mill Road, Corbally; Frank Keating, of FB Keating solicitors, O’Connell Street; contractors Frank McGrath Construction Ltd, with offices at Upper William Street; and Auctioneers and Estate Agents, Lizpat Properties Ltd, Barringtons Street, as a result of the fall on June 13th, 2006. at the Westbury Centre, Corbally Road.

After talks between the parties on Wednesday, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the case had been resolved with the costs of all of the proceedings against Lizpat Properties. Mr Burns said the case against the other defendants could be struck out.

Counsel said liability in the case had been assessed as one-third against Mr Kilcoyne and two-thirds against Lizpat Properties.

Basement

Earlier, when opening the case, Mr Burns said Mr Kilcoyne and his wife were viewing a property under construction at the Westbury Centre when the accident happened.

He said the couple were being shown around the premises by an estate agent and were taken downstairs to the basement. Counsel said there was limited light from the stairwell, the estate agent did not have a torch and Mr Kilcoyne used the light on his phone as he wanted to see the size of the basement.

“As he walked across the floor, he stood into the void and fell seven feet down the shaft,” he said. Mr Kilcoyne was shocked and in pain and his wife brought him to hospital where an undisplaced fracture of his right upper arm was diagnosed.

He had to wear a plaster for six weeks and was out of work for nine months, counsel said. He also had to return to hospital over the years for pain relieving injections.

Among his claims, he alleged various failure, including to adequately cover, fence in or protect the lift shaft and to warn Mr Kilcoyne of the presence or position of an uncovered lift shaft in an area of the premises which was not adequately lit.

The claims were denied.