€2.3m for man hit by drunk driver

Tom McKiernan: Knocked downby drink-driver.

A computer programmer who was mowed down by a drunk driver as he walked along a city footpath with friends has settled his High Court action for €2.3m.

Tom McKiernan, aged 39, was left brain-damaged in the accident over five years ago, in which a young mother of twins also lost her life

A car driven by Francis Lennon mounted a footpath on the Malahide Road, Clontarf, Dublin, killing Anne Fitzsimons and leaving Mr McKiernan severely injured. Lennon later pleaded guilty to drink driving and dangerous driving, causing the death of Ms Fitzsimons, on November 15, 2009.

In the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said Mr McKiernan had a terrible accident which was not his fault, leaving him with terrible injuries. The computer programmer, who has been left brain-damaged, has to walk with the aid of a stick.

Mr Justice Cross, approving the €2.3m settlement against Lennon, said the accident had a devastating effect on Mr McKiernan and had “ruined” him.

“But you are here. You are able to discuss the matter with me. You have your views. You are going to your own accommodation, you can drive and will be able to build a life for yourself,” the judge said.

“The way you have managed this terrible disability is encouragement to all fellow citizens, and you are to be congratulated on that.”

Mr McKiernan, of Sheilmartin, Avenue, Fairview, Dublin, had sued Lennon, of Sheephill Park, Corduff, Blanchardstown, Dublin, who was the owner and driver of the car.

The computer programmer said he was walking along when, without warning, Lennon’s car mounted the footpath and knocked Mr McKiernan and four of his friends down. Ms Fitzsimons was killed and the others injured.

Lennon later pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing the death of Ms Fitzsimons, dangerous driving causing serious harm to Mr McKiernan, and drink driving on the Malahide Road on November 15, 2009.

Handing down a three- year jail term in the Circuit Criminal Court in 2011 to Lennon, Judge Martin Nolan said the consequences of the accident had been dreadful.

Outside the High Court yesterday, Mr McKiernan, whom the court heard will not be able to return to work and has had to learn to drive again, said he was now happy his nightmare was over.

“I want to rebuild my life. I would just like to ask everybody to be safe on the roads, be visible and think of other road users,” he said.


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