Software engineer settles case over fall on way home from Westport pub

Software Engineer Settles Case Over Fall On Way Home From Westport Pub
The High Court heard David Foley suffered a severe traumatic brain injury as a result of the fall. Photo: Collins
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High Court reporters

A software engineer who claimed he suffered a severe traumatic brain injury after he fell through an alleged gap in a stone wall as he walked along a street in Westport, Co Mayo has settled his High Court action.

It was claimed David Foley fell down over 15 feet to concrete below and suffered multiple injuries in the incident.


Prior to the fall, he had been at a local pub and the chipper, and was on the way back with friends to a house outside the town when the incident happened on Quay Street in Westport 11 years ago.

On the second day of the hearing on Thursday, after several hours of talks, Mr Justice Paul Coffey was told the case had been settled. The details of the settlement are confidential.

At the opening of the case, Mr Foley's counsel Michael Byrne SC, instructed by David O’Riordain solicitor, told the court that Mr Foley  had a complete personality change since the fall.

Before the incident, Counsel said, “the sky was the limit” for Mr Foley in relation to his work in computer programming. However, he has not worked since the fall, which happened just after midnight on August 19th, 2012.


Mr Justice Paul Coffey heard the claim included one for loss of earnings “at a very significant level” to date, and into the future.

David Foley (48), of Pearse Road, Co Sligo, had sued Michael and Geraldine Foy, the owners of McCarthy’s Lodge, a public house and guesthouse on Quay Street, Westport, Co Mayo. Mr Foy has since died.

It was claimed that during previous development work, a stone wall was partially demolished.

It was alleged the level of the wall at the point where it adjoins the public house and guesthouse was allegedly left lower than the original wall and was a tripping hazard, it was claimed.



On Thursday, Mr Justice Paul Coffey was told that the settlement in the case is against the Foys.

The settlement, the judge heard, is based on an apportionment of 60 per cent liability against the Foys.

Mr Foley also sued Mayo County Council, as well as Sheelagh Ryan, of Church Street Westport, the owner of lands adjacent to and bounded on one side by the public house and guesthouse premises, who is now deceased.

Mr Justice Coffey was told that those two claims could be struck out.


Noting the settlement and the strike out of the two proceedings, the judge praised the sides for reaching agreement and said it was a challenging and complex case.

The court had previously heard that a number of issues had to be determined, including whether the gap constituted a trip or hazard; who owned the wall, and where and why Mr Foley fell.

Contributory negligence was also alleged against Mr Foley, including that he had allegedly consumed alcohol to such an extent that it allegedly impaired his judgement, gait and perception.

His counsel told the court that Mr Foley admitted drinking a number of pints on the night of the incident, but claimed he was not intoxicated.


Philip Prescott, from Essex, England, who was with Mr Foley on the night in question, said they went to a pub for three or four hours and had about five or six drinks before leaving at 11.30pm.

He said, on the walk home, Mr Foley, who had been slightly behind him, “disappeared”. Mr Prescott said he could not see anything, but could hear groaning.

Counsel for the Foys put it to the witness that it was their case that Mr Foley was severely intoxicated. Mr Prescott said he disagreed, claiming Mr Foley did not appear to be severely intoxicated.

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