Duct probe ‘would not bring her back’

One of the owners of the hotel where a guest died of gas poisoning was challenged about deficiencies in the sealing of ducts, and why he did not raise it with the builder after the tragedy, and said he "saw no purpose in doing that, it was not going to bring back Miriam Reidy".

Duct probe ‘would not bring her back’

Michael O’Higgins SC, who represents Richard Davis, the plumber accused of manslaughter arising out of the carbon monoxide poisoning, cross-examined David Good of the Trident Hotel in Kinsale at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday. “When did you learn the ducts has not been fireproofed?” Mr O’Higgins asked.

Mr Good replied: “A forensic engineer, Tony O’Keefe, employed by the hotel afterwards, told us that.”

“Did you give that report to the guards?” the lawyer asked.

Mr Good: “I don’t remember giving that to the gardaí. If they has asked for it we would have given it.”

Mr O’Higgins: “Did it show that fire cert was issued on that basis [that fireproofing of service ducts to bedrooms had been done] but had not occurred?”

Mr Good: “We were in a very difficult period looking after staff, trying to re-open the hotel, dealing with banks. Looking backwards at that time was not right thing to do.”

Mr O’Higgins: “He [forensic engineer] having alerted you that something that ought to have been done was not done, would you not have wanted to know how that happened? You paid a man to do the job and there was a deficiency in the work?”

Mr Good: “The main issue was the carbon monoxide source rather than the pathway [by which the carbon monoxide from the boiler got into the bedrooms]. I saw no purpose in doing that, it was not going to bring back Miriam Reidy. We had huge pressures to get the hotel up and running… We dealt with the regulatory authorities. We were concentrating on getting the business up and running.”

“Would there be board meeting minutes?”

He replied: “There are no minutes. We met informally, on the hoof, We had a board meeting minutes before the incident, not in as great detail since.”

Commenting on the answer, Mr O’Higgins said: “One would have thought that from January 11 2011 on [you would have said] we are going to be more formal and not be going informal.”

Mr O’Higgins referred to a proposed duct that would have taken all the boilers’ emissions to the roof where it would have blown away harmlessly, but that this was rejected by Mr Good, who said: “the primary reason it was not accepted was because it was incredibly ugly”.

Mr O’Higgins quoted the witness in his statement to gardaí where he said: “I was not happy with the visual impact and also the costs.”

Mr Good said yesterday: “My main concern was visual.”

Richard Davis, aged 46, from Serenity, Killanully, Ballygarvan, Co Cork, is on trial for the manslaughter of Ms Reidy, and two breaches of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. His company, Davis Heating and Plumbing Contractors of Marina Commercial Park in Cork, is charged with two similar breaches of the safety act relating to the conversion of a gas boiler at the Trident on Jan 4 2011. All charges are denied. The case continues today.

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