'left for dead' | 

Engineer will be 'forever haunted' as he settles case with ESB after being attacked by stag

John Corcoran said no employee "should ever be left alone especially when working so remotely”.
John Corcoran at the High Court. Photo: Collins Photo Agency

John Corcoran at the High Court. Photo: Collins Photo Agency

Tim Healy

An ESB worker who was tossed into the air by a stag on a Tipperary mountain said today the attack will forever haunt him.

In a statement after he settled his High Court action against the ESB, John Corcoran (63) said: “While I am so grateful to be alive and be here today, the attack I endured that day will forever haunt me.

“Being left for dead in a bush for over an hour and a half having narrowly escaped death is not a risk in the workplace that should ever be allowed to happen. I truly hope lessons have been learned.”

He said no employee “particularly in the already dangerous line of work of the ESB, should ever be left alone especially when working so remotely”.

Mr Corcoran said it was deeply regrettable that the case and the accident occurred and he claimed it could so easily have been prevented “with better support and working conditions from the ESB”.

Mr Corcoran’s case had been adjourned after he had to attend hospital when he had an asthma attack in the witness box this week.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey was today told the case had been settled and another case brought by Mr Corcoran against the ESB in relation to alleged exposure to asbestos has also been settled.

The terms of the settlements are confidential.

Mr Corcoran was an engineering officer with the ESB and was on his way to check on a mast when the stag attacked him on a forestry path at Kilduff Mountain outside Templemore, Co Tipperary six years ago.

The attack took place in September 2016 during what is traditionally rutting season.

John Corcoran (63), Fawnlough, Nenagh, Co Tipperary had sued ESB Networks Designated Activity Company with a registered address at Clanwilliam House, Clanwilliam Place, Dublin and the Electricity Supply Board with a registered address at East Wall, Dublin over the stag attack on September 12, 2016.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey was told that liability has been admitted in the case which was before the court for the assessment of damages only.

The court previously heard Mr Corcoran’s case includes a claim for a total of €420,000 in loss of earnings.

It was claimed that Mr Corcoran had been permitted to work alone in a mountain area during the deer mating season when it ought to reasonably have been known that it was dangerous and unsafe to do so.

It was further claimed there was a failure to have in place any warning device, panic alarm, man down system or automatic distress message system for peope working alone in isolated areas.

Mr Corcoran told the court he was attacked after a herd of deer crossed his path and he saw the stag about 15 paces from him. He started to run but the animal hit him with force with his antlers creating eight puncture wounds on his rucksack and wounding him in the shoulder.

“He propelled me through the air at speed over a bank and into the scrub. I lost my helmet and glasses,” he said.

The stag continued to attack with feet and antlers but Mr Corcoran said he had a rod and managed to hit the stag a few times in the nostrils, but it reared up on his hind legs and came crashing down on him.

Mr Corcoran said he lost consciousness for an estimated 10 to 12 minutes but later managed to reach his phone and summon help.

Following the settlement, his solicitor Sean Fitzgerald said it was miraculous Mr Corcoran had survived the stag attack.

“We are only grateful that his case is one that highlights the role of care and responsibility that employers have for their employees.

“We are pleased that Mr Corcoran now has some closure and that he and his family have the financial support for the care he requires for his life-changing injuries,” he said.

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