Man who lost finger climbing fence at Luas stop 'wanted to get home for dinner'

Man who lost finger climbing fence at Luas stop  'wanted to get home for dinner'
The Luas. File photo

A man who lost his finger when he climbed a fence to get to a Luas stop has told the High Court he wanted to get home for his dinner.

Michael Kelly was going from Dundrum on the green line back to the city centre refuge where he was staying at the time and where his lunchtime meal was served at 1pm. The court heard Mr Kelly six years ago lived in a men's refuge in Dublin city centre and there were strict rules and dinner was served at 1pm in the day.

Under cross examination it was put to Michael Kelly he could have turned back when he got to the second fence where the accident happened.

Mr Kelly replied: “I wanted to get home for my dinner.”

It was the second day of the High Court case where Michael Kelly (43) Clare Village, Malahide Road, Co Dublin has sued Luas operators TransDev Dublin Light Rail Ltd and Transport Infrastructure Ireland as a result of the accident on October 20, 2012.

Mr Kelly claims he could not find the entrance to Dundrum Luas station, he had climbed steps which appeared to access the Dundrum Luas stop and there was a gate and a fence but the gate was locked. He claimed there was an alleged failure to have the lift operational at the Dundrum Luas which would have enabled him to access the station and platform and there was an alleged failure to take any or any reasonable care to see he would be reasonably safe in using the Dundrum Luas stop premises.

The claims are denied and it is claimed there was contributory negligence on the part of Mr Kelly who it is alleged attempted to access the Luas platform in a reckless and dangerous manner and he failed to access the Luas stop by way of a clearly marked and signposted public access route.

It is further alleged Mr Kelly took an alleged dangerous and hazardous shortcut to access the platform and that he allegedly used a means of access which was allegedly clearly blocked and prohibited to members of the public.

Cross examined by David Nolan SC with Simon Kearns BL, Mr Kelly said he did not see the sign for the Luas as he walked along the street, because of Referendum related posters on a pole.

Mr Kelly said he knew he should not have got over the first barrier, but he thought it was the right way.

When he got to the second fence at the top of an embankment he agreed he knew he was in the wrong place.

Counsel put it to Mr Kelly he had "decided recklessly" to make the wrong choice.

Mr Kelly said he weighed the options and thought it was safer.

“I felt trapped,’ Mr Kelly said.

He agreed he made the call that it was safer to go on than go back and he did not want to get his clothes dirty.

‘I was not expecting to lose my finger,’ he added.

Counsel put it to Mr Kelly what he did was “entirely reckless.” Mr Kelly answered yes.

Asked why he had not asked anybody for directions to the Luas entrance, Mr Kelly said there was nobody around.

Counsel said he also could have waited 10 minutes for the next Luas.

Mr Kelly replied he would not have had his dinner.

Mr Nolan suggested to Mr Kelly the accident had all to do “with your foolishness “ and he could have stopped at any time out of concern for his safety and taken appropriate steps.

Mr Kelly said he admitted he should not have got over the first fence.

The case is expected to conclude before Mr Justice Michael Hanna tomorrow.

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