€25k for trip on election night

A retired nurse tripped and fell over kerbing in poor lighting on her way to the polling booth in Killorglin on the night of the last general election.

She has now been awarded over €25,000 against Kerry County Council.

Sheila Kennedy, who is aged in her 60s, from Laharn, Killorglin, had been a very truthful and honest witness, Judge James O’Donohoe said.

The council should have painted the new kerbing and the quality of the lighting was also poor, the judge found.

Ms Kennedy, who is a well-known Fine Gael activist in south Kerry, was accompanying a woman to the polling station in Killorglin National School at around 7.45pm on the night of February 25, 2011.

She was crossing the public car park, which is alongside the school, when she fell on her right side over what she claimed was a new, unpainted kerb and a raised footpath, placed by the council on School Rd.

Ms Kennedy fractured her fingers and had to have a number of operations on her left thumb.

An underlying condition of arthritis was severely worsened by the fall.

The kerb had not been painted white so it would be visible and was a tripping hazard for pedestrians, Ms Kennedy’s solicitor, former Fianna Fáil councillor Paul O’Donoghue, stated in the personal injuries claim.

The council had denied liability, saying it was not the owner of the car park.

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