INSULT to INJURY | 

Former mayor offered just €1.5k compo after losing 11 years of her life following pub attack

The Galway woman, who was mayor of Tuam at the time, was also forced to close down her pub as she was unable to work
Mary Loftus is still suffering the effects of the attack at her pub in 2010

Mary Loftus is still suffering the effects of the attack at her pub in 2010

Eugene Masterson

A former town mayor who was beaten so badly by a customer in her pub that she had to give up work has been offered just €1,500 in compensation.

Mary Loftus has to take 24 tablets a day for the pain of an inoperable trapped nerve in her forehead.

The Co Galway woman, who was mayor of Tuam at the time of the attack, was also forced to close down her pub as she has been physically unable to work.

Mary's fellow publicans and townsfolk in Tuam were outraged at what they said was an unduly lenient sentence given to Valerie Fahy for the brutal attack in November 2010.

Fahy was fined €250 by Judge Geoffrey Browne at Tuam District Court.

Although Mayor Loftus did not want to see Fahy jailed for the brutal assault, she was aghast that her assailant was not given a suspended sentence.

Despite seeing pictures of the horrific injuries and details of Fahy's assault, Judge Browne only had cold words of comfort for Mayor Loftus. "I hope things go well for you, it's a tough world out there," he said.

Mary Loftus is still suffering the effects of the attack at her pub in 2010

Mary Loftus is still suffering the effects of the attack at her pub in 2010

Mary told the Sunday World that every day is a living hell since the assault. She was forced to close down her pub, The Hibernia Inn, because she could not physically run it any more. The pub is now trading as the Front Room under a different proprietor.

Mary maintains she has lost hundreds of thousands in income as a result of the attack.

"I'm attending a neurologist; my speech is slurred and I've constant headaches. I'm taking up to 24 tablets some days and I've a loss of balance," she explains. "The pain in my head is the worst."

Fahy, who was 32 at the time, had been living near Kilconly, Co Galway, had been drinking in the pub when words were exchanged between her and Mary and the publican asked her to leave.

"I was on crutches at the time, as I had a broken Achilles tendon, when I asked her to leave and as I went to the front door to open it she attacked me, and kicked my head against the door.

"Most of the incident happened outside the front door so my premises' insurance would not have covered it as most of the attack happened outside on the footpath," Mary says.

Fahy's defending solicitor, Joan O'Brien, said during the case that his client wore a wig due to suffering from alopecia and that while being asked to leave it fell off and this is why she "flipped".

Judge Browne said: "Look at the photographs. She literally beat the living daylights out of her."

Because Fahy pleaded guilty, the court did not detail the injuries Mary suffered.

Garda Inspector Brendan Carroll said when Mary fell to the ground Fahy kicked her about the face and body.

Mary later took an action for compensation and after a battle of more than 11 years was finally given an award from the Criminal Injuries Board for €1,500.

"I took my case with the Criminal Injuries Board, which are a joke," stormed Mary. "You don't get to speak to them, you send in stuff and hope for the best.

"But after all the suffering I've gone through and losing my livelihood this is the sum they've offered me. I now intend to appeal it, which will go before a three-person tribunal and in which I will be able to tell them face to face about what happened me."

She adds: "The worst part of it, I've lost my livelihood. It's terrible. I have a trapped nerve going into my eye from the lump that's in my forehead, into my eye, it's inoperable and they have no way of fixing it. It gives me constant headaches, which can be unbearable."

Mary has had several procedures to try to fix the problem.

"They tried nerve blocks, it didn't work. They tried Botox injections to the back of my head, that didn't do anything for me. Neither worked," she explains. "So the latest one I'm trying is an intravenous lignocaine infusion, which is a type of anaesthetic to help with super orbital nerve blocks."

Mary Loftus

Mary Loftus

Her condition has also had other effects.

"I've had a few falls, I broke my shoulder a few years ago. My neurologist says because of my condition I'm a bit unsteady on my feet," she says.

"I don't go to pubs anymore. I went a few times but didn't feel comfortable. I didn't have a drink in one until about seven years later. I can go to the shops but my social life is defunct. My sister Grace is wonderful, helping me out.

"I just exist. You can only exist when you're on disability. I watch a lot of TV; I also try to keep my brain as active as possible."

She is furious about the way she has been treated and believes there are many others who have also been offered unfair levels of compensation.

"My God almighty I have lost my earning ability, plus 11 and a half years of my life. The law is an ass, a complete ass. It gave me no justice. It's an absolute disgrace."


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