Self-employed barber, Joseph McGrath, aged 58, from Johnstown, Navan, Co Meath, sued Fingal County Council over the accident at the pier in Rush, Co Dublin, on July 27, 2009. He broke his arm and twisted his ankle and was out of work for three months.
He claimed the council was negligent in failing to make safe the pier, which it knew or should have known was in a dangerous condition and which was popular among bathers.
The council denied the claims and argued Mr McGrath was liable or partly liable by failing to exercise any or adequate caution for his own safety. It was also argued he failed to negotiate the steps in a careful manner.
The court heard Mr McGrath, his 14-year-old son, and his wife’s niece went swimming from the pier on a warm summer evening. On his third time descending the steps, the court was told, Mr McGrath slipped on a moss-like marine plant and fell heavily on his elbow. He slid down the remaining six steps and came to a rest on the seabed.
Awarding him €59,050, Mr Justice Daniel Herbert said he was satisfied the council, as the authority responsible for the pier, knew members of the public were using the pier steps for swimming.
The council knew the steps were dangerous for people swimming but had failed to take any proper or adequate precaution to prevent injury to recreational users, he said.