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Garda, whose patrol car was rammed by lorry in 2000, awarded €75,000 damages in High Court

Retired Garda Frank O’Hara’s patrol car was rammed close to the Louth border by a lorry that “skulked across the border”.

HC W Murphy 2 Source: William Murphy

A FORMER GARDA, who suffered soft tissue injuries to his upper body in a terrifying hit-and-run accident with a lorry which “skulked across the border”, has been awarded €75,000 damages in the High Court.

Mr Justice Michael Hanna said that retired Garda Frank O’Hara, who was based in Dromad, Co Louth, had been fortunate not to suffer more significant injuries after the lorry ran into the back of his patrol car almost 16 years ago.

Judge Hanna said that on 7 December 2000 O’Hara had been in the car, which was parked close to the border, when the lorry hit it from behind, causing significant damage to the vehicle.

The judge told Turlough O’Donnell SC, counsel for O’Hara, that the lorry driver “skulked across the border”, switching off his lights to avoid detection, in a “despicable and contemptible act”.

The judge today said during a Garda Compensation hearing that he had no doubt it had been a “terrifying” incident and O’Hara’s evidence was “utterly honest and utterly reliable”.

O’Hara, who sued the Minister for Finance, told the court that he later attended his GP complaining of neck, back and left shoulder pain. He had needed to take several weeks off work and had ongoing pain and difficulties walking.

Barrister Anne Rowland, for the State, said the Minister argued that O’Hara’s ongoing difficulties were not related to the accident but were due to a degenerative condition.

Judge Hanna said he was satisfied the soft tissue injuries O’Hara suffered had aggravated his degenerative condition. Awarding him €75,000 damages, the judge said the former Garda had understated the effect his injuries had upon him.

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