A 25-year-old bar assistant who slipped on pigeon faeces at the open-air restaurant in which she worked at Dublin’s Heuston Rail Station has been awarded almost €25,000 damages against CIÉ.
Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, heard Leann Walsh tended table on the decking outside the Heuston Station Refreshment Rooms and would often have to shoo away pigeons.
Barrister Karl Finnegan, for Ms Walsh, told the circuit civil court she had been working outdoors on May 15, 2013, when she stepped on pigeon faeces and her right leg went from under her.
Mr Finnegan said she had fallen sideways on her knees and back, suffering soft tissue injuries to her ankle, knees, and lower back.
Gerry Ryan, counsel for CIÉ, told the court the Irish Rail Company had entered a full defence. Barrister Sarah Corcoran, for the Heuston Refreshment Rooms, of West Pier, Howth, said her client had also denied liability.
Ms Corcoran told the court that the problem of pigeons was a serious one for her client, who had asked CIÉ to deal with the matter.
Judge Groarke, awarding Ms Walsh, of Merrion Court, Blackhall St, Dublin, €22,500 damages with special damages of €2,148, said he would grant judgment against both defendants but would make an order over in favour of the restaurant against CIÉ.
The judge said what had been described to the court was a visitation by pigeons calling to the Heuston Refreshment Rooms outside restaurant area on at least six or seven times a day.
Judge Groarke said that with the comings and goings and deposits of pigeons the area was not a safe place of work for Ms Walsh, who had to serve customers at tables as well as clean up the area.
He believed an accident of the type before the court was foreseeable despite there being no evidence of a similar slip in the 19 years during which Heuston Refreshment Rooms ran the restaurant.
Among the works carried out was the placing of spikes, fire gel, a hawk on a pole with which the pigeons became very acquainted, and humane traps. No permanent solution had been found to the problem.
The judge said Ms Walsh and the restaurant did all they reasonably could in order to keep the premises clean and clean up after the pigeons. The restaurant had tried to get CIÉ to deal with the problem but CIE had decided not to take appropriate steps.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved