Woman, 80, sues over fall at Dublin Airport security ahead of €2.5k trip-of-a-lifetime to Vietnam

By Ann O'Loughlin

A pensioner who claims she fell over baggage, hurting her knee as she went through security at Dublin Airport before flying out on a trip-of-a-lifetime, has sued in the High Court.

Two days into her holiday in Vietnam, grandmother Catherine Gallagher told Mr Justice Michael Hanna she could not walk and an x-ray at a hospital in Ho Chi Minh city showed a fracture.

Instead of going on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, Mrs Gallagher who is now 80 years of age ended up being transferred by air ambulance to Thailand where she spent 10 days in a hospital in Bangkok. She had an operation to a fracture above her earlier knee replacement before being transferred back to Dublin in another air ambulance.

Mrs Gallagher, who had travelled to Vietnam with a lady friend on a two-week tour in a group of 14, said she had saved up for the €2,500 trip-of-a-lifetime three years ago.

"I was fascinated by Vietnam. I always wanted to go there. I had everything planned , what I was going to see," the pensioner, who said she loved to travel, told the judge.

However, she said the first two days she was pushed around in a wheelchair and then she could not walk and was taken to hospital.

Mrs Gallagher told the court after the accident she was asked by first aid at Dublin Airport if she wanted to continue with her travel plans and she opted to travel as she thought she was okay. She said she was given a wheelchair to her flight at Dublin.

Catherine Gallagher outside court today. Pic: Collins.

Catherine Gallagher of Bray, Co Wicklow, has sued the DAA PLC, which manages Dublin Airport as a result of the fall on April 14, 2014, at Terminal Two as she went through a security check on her way to get her flight to Vietnam.

The pensioner, who had a left knee replacement a few years before, had been hand-scanned after the main detector sounded as she went through it. She was standing to the side when she claims she fell over baggage on the floor.

She has claimed there was an alleged failure to prevent other passengers from creating trip hazards during the security screening of passengers and there was an alleged failure to ensure a safe system for the security screening of passengers transiting the terminal.

Mrs Gallagher has further alleged she experienced severe disruption in her subsequent travel plans and in her way of life as she was immobilised for about six months and was unable to visit her grandchildren in the US.

The Dublin Airport Authority has denied all the claims and contends the pensioner allegedly failed to pay any adequate attention to what was going on about her and allegedly failed to notice the items on the floor.

Mrs Gallagher told Mr Justice Michael Hanna she fell on her left knee.

"I turned to walk away I fell over and came down on my left knee," she said.

She added: "I just know I fell over things on floor.

"I thought I was okay and in 24 hours I would be grand."

She said on a night stopover in Dubai she bought a gel to rub in her leg, but at Ho Chi Minh city she had to have a wheelchair.

Mrs Gallagher said prior to the accident she was very active.

“I had a lot planned. I intended to climb Croagh Patrick and to go to Lourdes with one of my friends. I never used my bus pass until this accident. I always walked everywhere.”

The case before Mr Justicer Michael Hanna continues tomorrow.


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