Woman sues iconic English Market fish stall over fall

The Cork fish stall which achieved international fame with two British royal visits and as a location for the hit TV show The Young Offenders was the centre of attention yesterday at the High Court where a woman sued for compensation as a result of a fall on the public walkway outside the stall.

Christine Mullane of Tweedmount, Blarney, was buying fish at Kay O’Connell’s fish stall at The English Market when she fell on the public aisle outside it and struck her head against a bar.

Lorraine O’Sullivan, the plaintiff’s senior counsel, said the stall was renowned from British royal visits and for scenes in the movie and TV series, The Young Offenders.

Ms Mullan, 63, visited there to buy her fish on February 20, 2013. She ordered her fish, walked a few feet to pay for it to an area where a member of staff of the stall had been standing a moment earlier with a tray.

“She slipped and fell forwards and struck her head against a metal bar,” Ms O’Sullivan said. 

“People came to her assistance, including Pat O’Connell who got her a cup of tea. She was extremely upset. A very kind taxi man who was there took her to her husband and took her then to hospital.”

Between the opening of the case by Ms O’Sullivan and the evidence from the plaintiff the case had settled for an undisclosed sum.

However, the case proceeded in any event so that the issue of liability could be decided. The defendants are Kay O’Connell Ltd, which operates the stall, and Cork City Council which owns The English Market and looks after maintenance and cleaning of the aisles and walkways.

There was CCTV evidence of the accident and Mr Justice David Barniville looked at it a number of times. The judge commented: “It looks like a very nasty fall.”

Ms Mullane said: “I was standing to get my fish.

“I turned to go up and pay for the fish. It was then I slipped on the wet floor.”

Michael Gleeson SC for O’Connell’s asked if there were any signs on the public aisle in front of the various fish stalls indicating the floor was wet and slippery. The plaintiff replied, “No.”

Mr Gleeson asked, “And was it wet and slippery?” She replied, “Yes.”

Mr Gleeson said he presumed that as a regular customer over the years Ms Mullane had witnessed the cleaning regime. She said she had not. He also said that water could be brought from other sources by people walking. She agreed.

Barrister James Duggan for Cork City Council suggested this was the first time she ever had a problem there. He said the video showed a fish monger in an apron outside the stall with a fish box. Mr Duggan said the man moved, the plaintiff then walked to stand where he had been, and she fell in that spot.

The case continues on Monday to determine liability for the accident.



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