Inquest into Bandon wall collapse death may be reopened, says coroner

Billy O'Driscoll

A coroner has signalled his intention to reopen an inquest into the death of a man who was killed when a wall collapsed on him.

Billy O’Driscoll from St Patrick’s Quay, Bandon, died when a wall collapsed at the back of his property during construction work on an adjoining property in September 2014.

Mr O’Driscoll, a married father of six, was pronounced dead at the scene by a local doctor.

An investigation and prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) followed and in February last year a plea of guilty was entered on behalf of McCarthy Greenbuild Construction Ltd to a charge of exposing a member of the public to risk, contrary to health and safety legislation.

The charge had stated that on St Patrick’s Quay, Bandon, Co Cork, McCarthy Greenbuild failed to manage and conduct its undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, that in the course of work activities, namely the building of a structure at the rear of this premises, that William O’Driscoll, was not exposed to risks to his safety, health, or welfare and, as a consequence of this failure, a member of the public suffered personal injury and died.

Yesterday in Bandon, coroner Frank O’Connell said he had received correspondence from members of the late man’s family in relation to the case and that in light of those representations he felt he may resume the inquest. He said it may take a day to hear the inquest.

Solicitor Tony Greenway, standing in for solicitor Plunkett Taaffe, said Mr Taaffe had received correspondence from the late man’s widow stating she was not requesting an inquest.

Mr O’Connell said he had received a solicitor’s letter for some of Mr O’Driscoll’s children who said they were seeking the resumption of an inquest into the case.

Mr O’Connell said it appeared there was a difference of opinion within the family regarding the inquest but said “My view is that I ought to resume that inquest”, adding that he wanted to see a conversation between members of the family before proceeding, with a view to hearing the case in the coming weeks.

Following the fatal incident Mr O’Driscoll’s body was taken to Cork University Hospital for autopsy.

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