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CaptainVertigo
2016-04-18 18:46:25
Weir-Rodgers v SF Trust Ltd
Geraldine Weir-Rodgers sued SF Trust Ltd (a company formed by the Franciscan Order) claiming damages for personal injuries suffered when she fell down a cliff on the company’s seaside lands in County Donegal. Ms Weir-Rodgers claimed that after a social evening in April 1997 a group decided to go for a walk towards the beach at Coolmore, Rossnowlagh, to watch the sunset. There was an isolated section of fencing on a road to the beach , a piece of which had fallen down. She was sitting with friends close to the edge of a cliff. When she stood up she slipped, lost her footing and fell down the cliff which turned out to be much more sheer than she would have expected. Because of loose materials she was unable to stop and ended up in the water. She was rescued by a friend. She suffered extensive fractures and other injuries.
Mr. Justice Butler, in the High Court, found SF Trust to be in breach of its duty to the claimant under section 4 of the Occupiers Liability Act, 1995 and assessed damages at €113,000. However, he found the claimant to be guilty of contributory negligence to the extent of 25 per cent. The net judgment therefore was reduced to €84,666. The landowner appealed to the Supreme Court.
Mr Justice Hugh Geoghegan (with whom Mr Justice John Murray, the then Chief Justice, and Ms Justice Susan Denham, the current Chief Justice, agreed) said a person sitting down near a cliff must be prepared for oddities in the cliff's structure or in the structure of the ground adjacent to the cliff and he or she assumed the inherent associated risks. There could, of course, be something quite exceptionally unusual and dangerous in the state of a particular piece of ground which would impose a duty on the occupier, the effect of which would be that if he did not put up a warning notice he would be treated as having reckless disregard. But this was certainly not such a case. While obviously sympathetic to Ms Weir-Rodgers in her serious injuries he was satisfied there was no liability on the part of the landowner. He set aside the judgment of the High Court and dismissed the action. Costs were awarded against the claimant.
Commenting on the expert evidence given in the High Court, the Supreme Court judge stated:
Mr. McMullan (an engineer) was asked, was it obvious that the incline went down to a sheer drop and, therefore, straight down on to the beach and he said it would be obvious to some people but not necessarily to everyone and he said that there would be a danger there. At one point in the cross-examination of Mr. McMullan, Mr. Whelehan asked him if you were to put up a notice every place that there was a ridge or a cliff how many notices would have to be erected. His answer was that the place would be littered with notices. One does not have to be an engineer to agree with that answer and one does not have to be blessed with a high degree of common sense to opine that it is highly unlikely that the Oireachtas ever intended any such thing. Mr. McMullan’s evidence was extreme but, in my view, it logically had to be given to support the case of the [claimant]. For instance, in re-examination Mr. Finlay referred to a question Mr. Whelehan has asked Mr. McMullan as to whether he was suggesting that every stretch of the coast line should be fenced. I rather suspect that Mr. Finlay was hoping for a different kind of answer than he got. Mr. McMullan said that any area that is heavily pedestrianised should certainly have some warning signs and that there should also be a fence there as well. I must confess that this conjures up in my mind huge areas of coastline right around Ireland fenced against the public and littered with warning notices. An Oireachtas intention to that effect would seem unlikely but if a statute required it, the courts would be bound to uphold it.
4.—(1) In respect .. by CaptainVertigo   (Show all posts)
A woman has been a.. by wicklore   (Show all posts)


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 23 Next page >>
Track
High tour of Clare Island
simon3 15 hours ago.
walk, Len: 15.0km, Climb: 622m, Area: Knocknaveen, Achill/Corraun (Ireland) Kno...

  
Track
Glencullin ridge to Ben Bury/Mweelrea
markwallace a day ago.
This route was suggested by the Grade 1 scramble up the Glencullin Ridge described in Alan Tees? Scrambles in Ulster ... walk, Len: 16.5km, Climb: 1097m, Area: Ben Bury, Mweelrea Mountains (Ireland)

  
Summit Comment
Caherbarnagh East Top: An unremarkable summit, worth the visit for the views.
David-Guenot a day ago.
The summit is unremarkable though easy to spot as it lies along the fence.

Summit Comment
Caherbarnagh East Top: An easy stroll from Caherbarnagh.
David-Guenot a day ago.
There is a gate to cross when coming down from the cairn at the NE end of the main Caherbarnagh ridge (I found it was actually easier to cross the fence just right of the gate). There is a faint t...

  
Summit Comment
Caherbarnagh East Top: A worthwhile addition.
David-Guenot a day ago.
This summit is easily reached from the main Caherbarnagh ridge and seems easy enough to get to from Curracahill as well. If coming from Caherbarnagh, best is to cross the fence just before the col...

  
Summit Comment
The Paps East: Two shapely hills.
TommyV 4 days ago.
There is a forestry road in the Clydagh Valley with parking at W12955 83343. Following this road will lead you out onto the open mountain. From here it's a steep pull up to spot height 562 metres ...

Track
Dart & Sawel
Peter Walker 2 days ago.
(Note: the time is bonkers, and the ascent isn't right either, but hey, at least the distance is correct. And it ende... walk, Len: 16.3km, Climb: 635m, Area: Dart Mountain, Sperrin Mountains (Irelan

  
Summit Comment
Caherbarnagh: A mini horseshoe
TommyV 4 days ago.
I mostly followed Aidands directions. There is now a sign on the road marking the path for the Dulhallow Way at beside the bungalow mentioned by Aidand, and several more going through the private ...

  
Summit Comment
Musheramore: Follow the fence.
TommyV 4 days ago.
As mentioned in other comments the entrance to the Millstreet County Park is an ideal spot to approach Musheramore from. Over the stile across the road and simply hand rail the fence all the way t...

Track
MV Members Walk - Mournes, 06/04/2019
Peter Walker 3 days ago.
A fun time was had by all as we went up Donard by Thomas' Mountain, dropped down to the Brandy Pad before meandering ... walk, Len: 13.7km, Climb: 1191m, Area: Slieve Donard, Mourne Mountains (Irelan

  
Summit Comment
Knockchree: A nice forest trail takes you up
Pepe 6 days ago.
Various scraps of metal litter the summit area: an old mast stay, plus various other bits and pieces. Perhaps they're the remnants of comms masts or maybe an old military watch station from back i...

  
Summit Comment
Scarr North-West Top: Bird's eye view
Colin Murphy 6 days ago.
The descent from Scarr NW affords fine views of the Glenmacnass Waterfall and the expansive valley below it, far better than you'll get when you're at road level.


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 23 Next page >>