Leixlip Case Feb 2006
We set out details of a case reported in the media. Although it may appear to have been a case that was run in court, it is far more likely that this is a “Ruling of an Infant Settlement”. This is a process by which settlements offered to minors have to be put before a judge for approval. The case is briefly outlined by the claimant’s barrister and all defendant representatives must leave the court. Any comments made by a judge in such cases would be based on what they were told and the case should not be seen in any was as “opening the floodgates”. Settlements in cases like this take place for many possible reasons.
Victim of school bullying awarded €10,000 - 7/2/2005
A 10-year-old boy, who was bullied and harassed by fellow pupils at his school, was awarded €10,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court yesterday. The judge directed that €1,000 of the award be paid out immediately to the boy's parents so that they could give him a treat he could immediately enjoy.
Judge Joseph Matthews heard that Cillín Ó Donnchadha had been stoned, kicked, spat at and jeered in the schoolyard at Scoil Chearbhaill Uí Dhálaigh, Leixlip, Co Kildare, during the school years 2001-2003.
Ms Gráinne Lee, counsel for Cillín, who lives at Esker Lawns, Lucan, Co Dublin, said his parents, Mr and Mrs Ronan Ó Donnchadha, had taken him from the school after they discovered the bullying had been taking place when he was six and seven years old.
Ms Lee said the bullying and harassment had become so bad that Cillin's parents had withdrawn him from the school and had sued the school for having failed to do anything about it.
"They felt the school wasn't doing enough to protect their son after complaints had been made to the school," she told the court.
Ms Lee told Judge Matthews that Cillín’s parents had taken the view he had suffered dreadfully at the time and they did not want to put him through the further trauma of having to give evidence of his experiences before a court.
She said the school had made a settlement offer of €10,000 to include costs and she was recommending that the court approve the settlement.
In Cillín’s claim, taken on his behalf by his father, Ronan, it was alleged he had been bullied and harassed during the school year 2001-2002 when he had been struck and jumped on by two other students.
In 2002- 2003 he had been verbally abused, kicked and punched, spat at and jeered and had stones thrown at him.
The claim had been brought against the school on the basis that Cillín had been humiliated, distressed, assaulted and traumatized.
Judge Matthews, approving of the settlement, said it was clear Cillín had been bullied over a period of time by children of his own age on a regular basis.
He said it had been a matter of children ganging up on an innocent boy. It was a simple truth that children could be cruel to each other.
The circumstances of the bullying had not been beyond the control of the school and it was unfortunate it had taken so long to come to the attention of the school.