Deirdre you did the Right Thing; Withdrawn, Case Over? Speedy Recovery?

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Fianna Fáil councillor Deirdre Conroy withdraws her case over fall on ski trip

 9th November 2022

A Fianna Fáil councillor who sued a travel company over a fall while skiing, in which she fractured her hip, has withdrawn her claim.

Deirdre Conroy’s personal injuries case hit the headlines when details emerged during her unsuccessful campaign as a candidate in the 2021 Dublin Bay South by-election. At the time, she told the Irish Daily Mail that she had to sue because she had almost lost her leg, and the injury would affect her for the rest of her life.

She added that she was not a politician at the time she took the case. The case was due for hearing yesterday before the High Court, but before it could be assigned her barrister, Oonah McCrann, said the case had been withdrawn. Ms McCrann told a registrar that the case had been resolved outside court.

No details were given, but the defendants, Crystal Holidays and TUI UK, consented to the removal of the case from the list through their barrister, David Nolan.

Deirdre Conroy.

Ms Conroy, a Dublin city councillor for the Kimmage and Rathmines area who is also a barrister, started the High Court proceedings in June 2016, claiming she was hurt during a January 2015 ski trip to Andorra, when there was very little snow on the slopes. She alleged that she expressed her concerns to the group’s instructor about the icy conditions and the lack of snow, to which her ski instructor responded: ‘You haven’t seen ice yet.’

Her legal papers also stated that Ms Conroy requested a break an hour into the ski session, and again within another hour, but this was refused and skiing continued. She claimed the instructor had failed to properly monitor her. Subsequently, her right leg gave way during a rundown the slope, causing her to tumble.

The fall resulted in her needing an operation in Andorra on the same day, which included a screw being placed into her hip and femur. Later that year, in July 2015, she had a full left hip replacement in the Beacon Hospital The accident happened in Arinsal, a ski resort in Andorra, between France and Spain. Ms Conroy, who is in her late 50s, is a former travel writer and was one of six journalists on the trip paid for by the defendants, who denied her allegation of negligence.

Fianna Fail candidate Deirdre Conroy with Director of Elections, Jim O’Callaghan outside the count for the Dublin Bay South by-election at Simmonscourt, RDS in Ballsbridge,. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire© Provided by Evoke.ie

She told the Mail in June 2021, while she was running in the Dublin Bay South by‑election, that she had to take a case against the holiday organisers because she had been left with a lifelong injury. She said she had been told that she had ‘practically lost the leg’.

She continued: ‘Now I have to take a case because it’s going to affect the rest of my life. If it was a straightforward thing where you just broke your ankle, yeah, leave it, but this is going to affect the rest of my life and I need something to cover me. I couldn’t walk for a year.

‘I mean, you know, the way we’ve heard about people who pretend something happened to them. They’ve fallen in a bathroom in McDonald’s.

Deirdre Conroy. Pic: Colin Keegan© Provided by Evoke.ie

That’s a completely different thing. This is a serious thing that I would never have wanted to happen, that I would never want to take a court case, that I would never want to be bothered by wasting time over all of these things.’ In her legal action, she claimed that she had not been able to continue with many of the things she did before and that the injury hasd caused ‘significant interference with the enjoyment of everyday life’.

Ms Conroy said a journalist had asked her how much she expected to win in compensation. She said: ‘I don’t know. I’ve left this with the expert solicitors, I’m the one who nearly lost my leg, I was told in Andorra.

‘They did an emergency [opera‑ tion] and reduced it by two centimetres which I didn’t know at the time. I came back to Ireland and Gary O’Toole, who is my orthopaedic surgeon, he said, “You know, you’re down two centimetres.” ‘I said, “What?” I hadn’t planned to take a case. I thought it was just a normal [situation] and my leg would be fine. ‘But he explained to me, “No, no, you’re not going to be able to walk again”.

I said, “I have to walk, I’m a mother, I’ve got work to do”. His attitude was, well, you just have to wait and see for six months, and I will look at it then and see how you’re getting on. ‘So six months later he said, “No it’s not recovering”. ‘I needed to have a femur thigh extension and a hip replacement.

And then he said you’re going to have to get it done again in ten years.’ The Fianna Fáil councillor posted a photograph of herself on a horse, taken in late 2019, on social media. Questioned about this, she said it was the first time she had been back on a horse since the accident, and that it did not contradict her personal injuries claim.

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