Harry Peglar’s injuries resulted in a €7,500 award against Cork City Council yesterday.
“I sat on the bollard [for] a couple of minutes and I didn’t know no more and I was on the flat of my back. Three girls saw what happened and they were sniggering. I was ashamed of my life,” Mr Peglar, from Mulgrave Road, Cork, said during his claim for compensation at Cork Circuit Court against the local authority.
Asked by his counsel, Donal Ryan, if there was any warning for the bollard disappearing underneath him, he said: “No, it just sunk into the ground.”
He said he was in such pain at the time he could not sit down so he could not get a taxi home. Instead, he walked home and went to bed and rested his back for a few days.
Mr Peglar had been sitting on the centre bollard of three at the junction of Maylor St and St Patrick St. The retractable bollards are programmed to go up at 11am and down again at 5pm, so that the street is effectively pedestrianised for the day. Emergency vehicles can, with a fob, have the bollards lowered but that is not what happened.
Mr Peglar was sitting on the bollard waiting for his son. Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “Waiting for the sun? The sun never shines on Maylor St.” Mr Ryan said the plaintiff had been waiting for his son.
Frank White, engineer, said there is a very loud alarm when the bollards are about to go up but no sound when they are about to go down which, he said, represented a hazard.
Ian Winning, engineer for Cork City Council, said the bollards, purchased in Spain, were set to sound an alarm when they were to go up but not down. He said the council had them in place since 2005 without any accident similar to the one described by the plaintiff.
He accepted that it was conceivable for a bollard to go down in the manner described but “it was an unusual occurrence that someone would sit on a bollard”.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said: “There was no warning that he should not have sat on it or the likelihood of it retracting if he did so. Negligence is established against the corporation.”