Transport firm fined €1m for horror crash which killed women
on 26/02/2013 00:00:00
In passing sentence at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, Judge Raymon Fullam said the defendant is a well-known transport company which had a duty of care to road users. The defendant's lorry and trailer, carrying six steel coils weighing about 25 tonnes, was en route to Athy Co Kildare, having been loaded in Wales the previous day, and transported by ferry to Rosslare before moving to the company yard in New Ross.
Judge Fullam said the load was inadequately secured and the coils came loose when it rounded a bend, with the trailer colliding with three vehicles causing the death of Mary Lonergan and Vanessa McGarry, two young mothers, and causing injuries to other people.
Judge Fullam said technical evidence indicated the scale of the defendant's breach. The coils, he said, where placed in an upright position but there was no internal bulkhead to prevent forward movement. Four of the coils were tied to hooks at the side of the trailer, which were meant for only tying down, while the second and fifth sets of coils had no straps attached.
Judge Fullam also said the evidence of Ms Francis Murphy, an &inspector with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) indicated the likelihood of the coils sliding sideways, as the straps were knotted together. She concluded the condition of the straps were not adequate to secure such a load.
He also said the speed of the lorry around the bend was clocked at 53km\h on the tacograph.
The defendant pleaded guilty, which he said saved the State some of the costs with a long trial, while the plea of guilty also saved the families of the deceased having to give evidence. The defendant had also taken steps in relation to improving safety.
The company had no previous convictions under the health and safety regulations, though it had traffic convictions.
Having regard to the possible consequence for innocent employees of Nolan Transport, he imposed a fine of €1m. Judge Fullam ordered €400,000 be paid by Dec 31, 2013; €300,000 by Dec 31, 2014, and €300,000 by Dec 31, 2015. He also ordered the payment of €70,000 costs. Leave to appeal was refused.