Woman claims she slipped on dancing powder

A 76-year-old woman is suing the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney for negligence after a fall on its well-known ballroom floor, in which "the feet went from under her".

Woman claims she slipped on dancing powder

Eileen Britton, aged 75, from Cloncleigh, Twomileborris, Co Tipperary, claims dancing powder had been spread on the floor. She sustained a double fracture of her left wrist.

The hotel is contesting the action and says it is against its policy to use dancing powder.

The case was “unusual”, Judge James O’Donohoe told the Circuit Civil Court in Killarney.

Ms Britton claims she fell as she left the ballroom floor in the Mangerton Suite on November 28, 2009.

She had been wearing 3in dancing shoes, which she normally wore, and had not been drinking.

She had been dancing for an hour during the annual Lisdoonvarna reunion. She had noticed that the floor was unusually slippery.

Ms Britton claims she slipped on a powdery substance which she was later told had been put on the floor to assist dancing.

“The music stopped. I was dancing with my husband. He was walking. I slipped. The floor was very slippery,” Ms Britton said yesterday.

Her husband said he saw the organiser of the event, who is not a hotel employee, but who has organised the event at the Gleneagle for almost 30 years, spread powder on the floor.

Organiser Albert Lawlor told the court that he was engaged in a hobby, not a business. He was not allowed to sprinkle in the Gleneagle and would not jeopardise his friendship with the hotel by doing so.

Cross-examined by Henry Downing, for the Gleneagle, Ms Britton said she did not see a substance on the floor.

Mr Downing put it to her that the hotel held dances “300 nights a year and this is the first claim they have had from anyone who says her or she slipped or fell on the dance floor”.

Gleneagle deputy general manager Martin Brett said he was on duty on the night and Ms Britton had told him she had “tripped” while dancing. However, his incident report noted she “fell” while dancing.

Judge O’Donohoe said he would not issue his judgement until Wednesday.

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