Man claims damages for fall putting up election posters

A time-honoured practice of electioneers climbing ladders to put up candidates’ poster on poles at every crossroads in the country is on the way out, due to health and safety matters.

And people would be expected to use cherrypickers instead, it was claimed during a High Court action yesterday.

Tom Stanton, of Friary Mews, Friars Walk, Cork, brought a case against the Labour Party.

He fell off a wall while trying to get a Paula Desmond poster on a pole between two posters for rival candidates, Michael McGrath and Jerry Buttimer.

He was specifically targetting poles with McGrath posters on the particular day, February 17, 2011.

Mr Stanton said his son had been holding the ladder each time. However, in the location where he fell and fractured ribs at Deanrock in Togher, Cork, he had climbed a wall as he felt it was a better and safer platform.

Mr Stanton, represented by senior counsel James O’Mahony and Dr John O’Mahony, said he was being paid €3 expenses for each poster erected.

Michael Gleeson, defence senior counsel, said the accident happened when the plaintiff departed from the safe system of using the ladder and was, in that sense, the author of his own misfortune.

Mr Gleeson asked: “Why are you blaming the Labour Party?”

“Because they had a duty of care for me. I was working for the Labour Party,” he said.

The plaintiff’s engineer, Padraig Murphy, said a ladder should not be used for putting up posters. The safer way was cherrypicker on the back of a truck like those used by the ESB. He thought such vehicles could be hired for around €100 a day.

Mr Gleeson said, in the many millions of times ladders were used to put up election posters over the years, there was no case of someone injuring themselves. Mr Murphy agreed he was unaware of any case.

The case continues today before Mr Justice John Hedigan.


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