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Garda whose legs were crushed in assault awarded €975,000

Ciaran Murrihy was deliberately crushed between a stolen car and a garda vehicle, breaking his legs.

A MEATH GARDA whose legs were crushed in a brutal repeated assault in August 2015 has been awarded €975,000 in compensation by the High Court.

Garda Ciaran Murrihy, of Macetown, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath, was on duty with three other gardaí when he was deliberately crushed between a stolen car and a garda vehicle, breaking his legs.

The driver of the stolen car, Patrick McDonagh, who was then aged 26, of Bath Road, Balbriggan, later pleaded guilty to having caused serious harm to Murrihy and was jailed for seven years on 5 February 2016.

Barrister Conor E Byrne, who appeared at the High Court Compensation Hearing today, told Mr Justice Michael Twomey that following a protracted period of negotiations the parties by consent had agreed on a figure of compensation of €975,000 for Murrihy.

Catherine Needham, counsel for the State, confirmed that the settlement figure had been reached by consent.

Judge Twomey congratulated the parties on reaching agreement on the level of compensation without a full hearing which he said was always the preferable approach in such serious cases.

Garda Murrihy, with Garda Lucy Wood who was also injured in the incident, had been on duty on Clonuske Rise, Hamlet Lane, Balbriggan, on August 2015 when they noticed the stolen Citroen Xsara car that had been taken in a burglary earlier that day.

Out of work for ‘a very long time’ 

A criminal court hearing was told later that the two gardaí approached the vehicle and after the occupants identified themselves, McDonagh slapped the car into reverse gear trailing the two gardaí with him and crushing Murrihy’s legs when he struck the garda car.

Another garda was also dragged along the ground.

The court had heard that Murrihy had to roll away to avoid his legs being repeatedly run over. Wood attended the criminal court wearing a sling on her right arm in order to give evidence.

Murrihy was in a wheelchair when he attended the criminal court in February 2016 and the court heard he was expected to be out of work for “a very long time”.

In a victim impact statement to the criminal court, Murrihy said he was haunted by the vision of McDonagh driving the stolen car directly at him. As a result of his injuries he had gone from being a proud garda and active father-of-two to feeling useless.

“McDonagh stole my life from me and has left me with so little,” he had stated.

Before Judge Martin Nolan sent McDonagh to jail for seven years the court heard that he had continued to drive the Citroen over Murrihy’s legs after having jammed him against the garda squad car.

Judge Twomey approved the settlement and, on the application of Needham, directed the release of Murrihy’s medical files.

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