A retired garda sergeant, who suffered ongoing back pain and depression following a serious assault during a car rally in Galway nearly 20 years ago, has been awarded €105,000 damages in the High Court.
Mr Justice Bernard Barton said he did not accept that retired sergeant Michael Conroy, aged 60, had to retire in 2009 because of his injuries. He adjourned the question of an award of further special damages until next month.
Judge Barton said in February 1998, Mr Conroy was based in Salthill, Galway, and had been on duty during the Statoil Galway International Rally.
Individuals in the crowd had started throwing missiles, including bottles, at gardaí and shouted abuse at them. As Mr Conroy arrested a spectator, he had been attacked from behind by another man.
He had been kicked and pushed, landing heavily on a car bonnet. He continued assisting his colleagues with “a very hostile crowd”, before attending Galway General Hospital with pain and bruising in his left leg.
The State had claimed Mr Conroy had not indicated at the time that he was retiring on illness grounds. The State also alleged that Mr Conroy was not suffering from PTSD symptoms, but depression.
The judge said Mr Conroy may require back surgery.
Awarding him €105,000 damages, the judge said he did not accept Mr Conroy’s claim that he retired because of his injuries. The judge said he had inherited a small farm at the time: “There are a number of factors explaining why he had retired without enquiring as to why he had no appointment with the Chief Medical Officer.
“I am not satisfied that Mr Conroy was unaware of his entitlement to be examined to retire on illness grounds.”
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