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Widow Awarded €170,000 Wrongful Death Compensation Award in Relation to Husband’s Death

A wrongful death compensation action has been settled for €170,000  in favour of the widow of pensioner Martin Flannery, who died due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Mr Flannery had been reviewing if petrol generators were powered on to properly heat a newly constructed building for his niece. The house was being heated prior to a first fix airtight test.

However, Mr Flannery was found, lying on the ground, unconscious in the house, which was next door to his own hosue in Mayo, in 2015. An official inquest into the death of Martin Flannery (66)  returned a verdict of accidental death.

Coroner John O’Dwyer said, in returning the verdict, that Mr Flannery was merely helping his brother and his niece by checking on the house when the tragic incident happened. Martin Flannery was discovered unconscious in a room at the back of the property and despite efforts to revive him, he was pronounced dead after being brought to hospital.

In the High Court Mr Flannery’s wife of 42 years, Eileen, submitted the wrongful death compensation action against her husband’s niece Laura Costello and her husband Declan Costello also of Kilkeeran, Ballinarobe, Co Mayo in relation to the accident that happened on September 11, 2015.

It was claimed there was a failure to have any proper or proper system of ventilation in place in the building. Along with it was alleged the house has been allegedly allowed to become toxic with carbon monoxide fumes and to constitute a serious hazard for those that entering the building. It was also alleged that there was a failure to cordon off the house while the generators were in use and until the place had been made safe for people to enter. Legal counsel for the defence refuted all of these claims.

The High Court was advised that, when the accident happened, the house was at first fix stage in construction and had an air tight test scheduled for that day. Before the test could be completed the house had to be heated and two fan heaters and an oil heater were put in situ. These heaters were powered by two petrol generators as electricity had not yet been turned on in the house. Both generators had been running for about an hour the night previous. They had been powered off during the night.

On the morning of September 11, 2015 the generators were turned back on. Mr Martin Flannery had checked in the generators at 10.30am and was due to check on them again after dropping his wife to town. However, when the air tight specialist arrived at the house to carry out the test at approximately 12.30pm he turned off one of the generators.

He noticed a strange smell and became dizzy as he went upstairs in the house and left it immediately. When he went back in he found Mr Flannery unconscious in a room at the back. He dragged him (Mr Flannery) outside tand attempted to revive him. However, Mr.Flannery was later pronounced dead when he was taken to hospital.

Justice Tom Cross gave his approval for the €170,000 settlement in the wrongful death compensation action.