Date Published: 02-Jun-2011
By Bernie Ní Fhlatharta
A Galway man whose life was changed forever after he developed a cold sore was awarded €4.5m at the High Court for brain damage which left him in a permanent childlike state.
Martin Ó Brien from Laurel Park, Newcastle got a viral infection, Herpes Simplex, sometime between January and March of 1996 which led to viral encephalitis, leaving him severely brain damaged.
After a 15 year battle with the HSE, the O’Briens won their case when a High Court judge in Dublin approved the settlement.
This week, Annemarie, Martin’s wife, said she was delighted with the settlement but regretted that it had taken so long.
“The children are aged 16 and twelve now, but there were times when they were younger when I hadn’t enough money to put oil in the tank to heat our home. We have struggled financially over the years, but, even so, I made sure that the children always enjoyed Christmas and we tried to have holidays most years.
“Martin is still the same. Rachel was just a baby when this happened to him so the children never knew the Martin I married and they never had the father they should have had,” she said.
Martin, who is 45 now, was treated at Merlin Park Hospital for an itchy rash and sores, but at some point he developed Herpes Simplex which Annemarie says, was not treated by his medical carers.
Since then, about 13 years ago, Martin has been cared for at home by Annemarie. It was a cause of celebration when Benjamin was born, though admittedly he is more of a brother than a son to Martin.
“Martin is totally unaware of the settlement. As long as he has his cigarettes he’s happy. He goes to rehab in Ballybane most days and he loves it. The money will help certainly, but it will never bring Martin back to how he was,” she adds.
Annemarie’s strength and care of Martin was praised by the High Court judge. She has certainly shown great courage and determination. They had barely been three years married when the viral infection struck.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.
Appeal for information following Portumna crash
Date Published: 08-May-2013
Gardai are appealing for witnesses following a single vehicle crash at the Portumna bridge this morning.
The road from Nenagh to Loughrea reopened shortly after 11 this morning following the completion of a technical exam.
Four men were travelling in a van when they hit the Portumna bridge around 6:30 this morning.
Gardaí, ambulance and two units of Portumna fire services rushed to the scene, and one of the men was taken to Portiuncula hospital in Ballinasloe.
He is being treated for head injuries, which have been described by Gardaí as serious.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Portumna Garda station on 09-097-42060
President Higgins among GMIT’s first ever honorary fellowships
Date Published: 10-May-2013
GMIT is to honour seven outstanding individuals including President Michael D Higgins with Honorary Fellowships at a special ceremony later this month.
It’s the first time in the 40 year history of the Institute the Governing Body of GMIT has decided to award honorary fellowships.
The GMIT Honorary Fellowships will be conferred at the g Hotel in the city this day two weeks Friday 24 May at 2.30pm in front of 200 invited guests.
Galway commuters hold their breath as LRC intervenes in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway commuters are holding their breath as there has been a potential breakthrough in the Bus Eireann dispute, as both sides have agreed to talks at the Labour Relations Commission.
The LRC intervened this afternoon, on day two of strike action that has seen 95 per cent of bus services disrupted across the country.
The LRC’s Director of Conciliation Services, Kevin Foley, says the National Bus and Rail Union and the company have agreed to meet for mediated talks at 8 this evening.