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Six-figure Settlement for Family of Worker

Posted: January 26th, 2016

A compensation settlement of €500,000 has been approved in court for the widow of a man who was killed in a work accident.

Declan Byrne was killed in a tragic accident that occurred on the 30th April 2008. Aged just thirty-one,Mr Byrne was at work on the Connacht Sportsground, assisting in the construction of a new gym. Whilst attempting to realign a 1.4 tonne steel beam, the beam fell and gravely injured Mr Byrne, resulting in his death. An investigation ensued into the circumstances of the accident, after which charges were brought against Mr Byrne’s employers, CDM Steel Ltd for breaches of the 2005 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act.

When the case was heard in the Galway Circuit Criminal Court in November 2013, the construction company was acquitted of the charges. The court had heard evidence that Mr Byrne had made the decision to use scaffolding and a bottle jack, choosing this method over a crane, as the blockwork of the new construction had already been almost completed. The judge overseeing the case did comment on the “appalling lack of communication” on the construction site, mentioning that there was also a lack of supervision.

After the announcement that her husband’s employers had been acquitted, Dolores Byrne, from Ballyhaunis in Mayo, made a work accident claim against CDM Steel Ltd following. The widow claimed that, despite their acquittal, the company was liable for her husband’s accident and death. She also brought charges against Portent Developments Ltd (the main contractor for the site), Rugby Football Union’s Connacht division and the owners of the sports goring, the Irish Rugby Football Union.

The parties denied any liability in Mr Byrne’s death, claiming that the fact he jeopardised himself by using the method he did for moving the beam was evidence that he regard for his own safety. The case proceeded to the High Court in Dublin, where Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that a €500,000 compensation settlement had been offered to the widow for her compensation claim

Mr Justice Cross said that, though he was happy to approve the settlement, it “nothing can replace” what Mrs Byrne and her two children had lost. He offered his condolences to the family before approving the six-figure settlement.

Categories: Construction Worker Injury Solicitor

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