Nurse tells court that Army 'failed' soldier


A psychiatric nurse told the High Court yesterday he believed the Army had failed a 45-year-old private who is claiming damages for traumatic stress  arising out of a 30-minute tank and machine-gun crossfire incident in the Lebanon in which he was involved.

Former private Mr James Gallagher is claiming damages arising from the incident in November 1985, which he claims sparked off several problems for him, including drink addiction, nightmares and panic attacks.

Mr Hugh McBride, a psychiatric nurse with the North Western Health Board, said he had treated Mr Gallagher for alcohol addiction in May 1992, after he was admitted to casualty with drink problems.

Earlier, evidence was given that Mr Gallagher had attempted to take his own life before being admitted to hospital, and part of his treatment had been group therapy, to which Mr Gallagher had responded well.

Mr McBride said the plaintiff had told him he was proud to be a soldier but felt that his whole life had come down on him because of the lack of interest shown in his problems by the Army.

Witness said he was astounded that between 1986 and 1989, when Mr Gallagher left the Army, management failed to identify his problems. "I respect the Army but in this situation they should put up their hands and say 'we have failed'," said Mr McBride.

The case continues today.