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Irish boy (10) electrocuted after hammering nail into electricity pole settles action for €700,000

Published 13/10/2015

An engineer reported finding 52 other nails in pole including those which had been used to hang election posters. (File pic)
An engineer reported finding 52 other nails in pole including those which had been used to hang election posters. (File pic)

A ten-year-old Irish boy who was electrocuted when he hammered a nail into an electricity pole has settled his High Court action for €700,000.

Kurt O'Callaghan was playing with friends in a wood near his home 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 and suffered 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, now 17 and from Wexford town, 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 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.

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