The family of a man who died while felling trees on a leading stud farm in Kilkenny has settled a High Court action for over €2 million.
Father of two George Williams Jnr died when a branch of a fell on him as he worked felling trees on the Norelands Stud farm in Co Kilkenny.
Mr Williams’ widow, Louise Williams of Danesfort, Co Kilkenny had sued the stud owner Harry McCalmont, the well-known breeder, owner, and vendor of thoroughbred horses over the accident 13 years ago.
George Williams, who was a stud groom lived with his family on the Norelands Stud farm at Stonyford, Co Kilkenny at the time.
Mr Justice Paul Coffey was told that the 37-year-old worker had been asked to fell three trees on the 400 acres property.
Senior Counsel Robert Fitzpatrick SC for Mrs Williams said George on September 6th 2010, had been directed to fell three trees on the stud farm and went with another worker. They felled one tree with a chainsaw.
Counsel said they were trying to fell a second tree when the chainsaw broke down.
Another chainsaw was obtained but became jammed in a tree. A third chainsaw was supplied, and the two men tried to fell the tree, but a bough broke off the tree and fell on Mr Williams.
The father of two died at the scene due to multiple traumatic injuries. Mr Williams’ daughters were aged seven and two years at the time.
In the proceedings, it was claimed there was a failure to provide Mr Williams with a safe system of work including training, and that he had been required to engage in felling mature trees in circumstances where he had no experience of forestry work.
It was further claimed there was a failure to conduct a risk assessment in relation to the nature of the task Mr Williams was required to undertake and a failure to warn him of the dangers of felling mature trees.
It was also claimed there was a failure to employ adequately qualified tree surgeons to engage in the felling of mature or diseased timber.
It was further alleged there was a failure to provide approved protective equipment or protective clothing.
Mr Justice Coffey was told that liability was admitted in the case, and it had been before the court for assessment of damages only.
Noting the settlement and the division of the statutory mental distress solatium payment Mr Justice Coffey conveyed his deepest sympathy to Mrs Williams and the family over the tragic accident.
High Court Reporters
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