Wexford boy who hit nail into ESB pole in €700,000 settlement

By David Tucker

Published 20/10/2015 | 00:00

Denise O'Callaghan.
Denise O'Callaghan.

A Wexford boy who was seriously injured when he hammered a nail into an electricity pole has settled his High Court action for €700,000.

Back in 2008, Kurt O'Callaghan was playing with friends in a wood near his home in town and making a camp when he decided to put up a 'Keep Out' sign.

The court heard he hit a cable when he hammered in the nail for his sign and was thrown back, suffering severe burn injuries.

His counsel said Kurt had climbed on a low boundary wall to a housing estate to access the pole to nail in his sign.

Kurt through his mother Denise O'Callaghan, sued the ESB as a result of the accident not far from his home on July 3, 2008.

It was claimed the boy, now aged 17, had been exposed to a danger to which the ESB knew or ought to have known existed.

It was also claimed there was an alleged failure to carry out an inspection of the wall or the electricity pole so as to detect the dangerous nature of the wall's proximity to the nearby electricity pole and in particular the presence of high velocity cables.

The claims were denied.

Kurt later had to have multiple operations and grafts to burn areas on his head, neck shoulders, chest and hands.

The court heard there was a statutory requirement to ensure electricity poles are protected up to three metres from the ground.

When an engineer for the O'Callaghan side inspected the pole, he reported finding 52 other nails in it, including those which had been used to hang election posters.

The court heard Kurt spent three months in Crumlin Hospital.

He will possibly need another operation but has made an amazing recovery and is now waiting to take up a welding apprenticeship, the court was also told.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the boy had an awful time and it was extremely traumatic for him.

He said it was a good settlement and the boy could have faced a possible claim of contributory negligence if the case had gone ahead.

In 2010, Denise told this newspaper that Kurt would not be alive but for the role played by staff at the A&E unit at Wexford General Hospital.

A passing motorist brought him to the nearby A&E department where medical staff administered pain relief and stablised him so he could be transferred to Crumlin Children's Hospital.

'If he had to go to the A&E in Waterford, he wouldn't have made it', said Denise who decided to lend her voice to the campaign that was running at the time for a retention of 24-hour cover at the Wexford casualty unit.

'I had to speak out because the A&E staff in Wexford helped to save Kurt's life,' she said.

Wexford People

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