Belfast Telegraph

Police board boss taken to hospital

The acting chairman of the Policing Board was taken to hospital after hitting his head on a light fitting as he walked into the monthly meeting.

Brian Rea sustained a nasty cut to the head when he collided with the glass wall fixture at board headquarters in Belfast.

He was trying to squeeze between the wall and assembled camera crews when the accident happened just moments before he was due to give his opening address.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott and members of his command team were already seated for the start of the public meeting when the unexpected drama unfolded.

While the sound of breaking glass was initially met with laughter from the audience, the mood turned more serious when the acting chairman turned round and it became clear that he had injured himself and was bleeding.

Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland administered first aid with the assistance of members of the Policing Board's press team.

"I don't think he realised the extent of the cut," Mr McCausland said afterwards. "It was a very significant cut, it could be three, four, five or maybe six stitches, that's how bad it was."

Acting vice-chairman Gearoid O hEara stood in for Mr Rea and the meeting proceeded as scheduled while he was taken to hospital for treatment.

Mr Rea, a former college lecturer and lay magistrate, has been acting as chairman since Barry Gilligan temporarily stepped down earlier this year to allow a police investigation into his involvement in a Belfast land deal to conclude. He has insisted his name will be cleared.

Mr Rea later returned for an afternoon meeting after receiving six stitches.

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