'Those cows would have been coming to me' - Cork farmer claiming €1.6m in damages

'Those cows would have been coming to me' - Cork farmer claiming €1.6m in damages
Gearoid Hurley

A 34-year-old Cork farmer who has sued after he suffered horrific injuries to his hand when it was sucked into a combine harvester has claimed for €1.65million in losses, the High Court has heard.

Gearoid Hurley, under cross-examination, agreed the losses under the special damages claim includes €80,000 for dairy cows which have been sold by his father and a €55,000 tractor his father bought after the accident three years ago.

Thomas Creed SC put it to Mr Hurley he was claiming for the loss of a herd which his father had sold.

Mr Hurley replied: "Those cows would have been coming to me.” 

He has claimed he was due to inherit the family dairy farm outside Bandon when he was 35-years-old, but his right hand is compromised and he cannot now work as a dairy farmer. 

As a result, he said his sister is set to inherit the 97 acres family farm which has since converted to beef. 

Mr Hurley has taken over a smaller 79 acres outside tillage farm near Cork Airport.

Gearoid Hurley, Mallowgaton, Bandon, has sued Mark Troy, an agricultural contractor of Knockroe, Bandon and the agricultural company Ardkeena Agri Services Ltd, also of Knockroe, Bandon, as a result of the accident on September 16, 2016, on land in Brinny, Inishannon.

Mr Hurley was working for Mr Troy at the time and was attempting to manually unclog grain from a combine harvester, when it was claimed the auger of the machine was allegedly activated by Mr Troy.

Mr Hurley has claimed he was allegedly requested to unclog the combine harvester in dangerous and hazardous circumstances and the auger of the harvester was allegedly activated in circumstances in which injury was likely to be caused.

He has further claimed there was an alleged failure to train or supervise him adequately.

Mr Hurley's hand was pulled upwards and crushed and remained trapped for about an hour until firemen managed to cut through the combine harvester to free it.

The High Court heard today liability had been withdrawn in the case and it is before the court for assessment of damages only.

In evidence, Mr Hurley said he can't shake hands as normal and said he offers his left hand rather than the right hand which suffered the injuries. He can’t do tasks associated with dairy farming he said such as milking, fencing, dehorning or help with the birthing of calves.

“I come from a farming background. That is what I want for the future. I didn’t want to lease the farm. If I had not been injured, I would have done dairy farming.” 

He added: “Farming is my passion, it’s what I want to do, it is built into a lot of people.” 

Cross-examined by Thomas Creed SC for both defendants he agreed he was claiming €1.65 million in losses as part of his action. This also includes a claim for the loss of future farm earnings in the region of €500,000.

Counsel put it to him that Mr Troy will say Mr Hurley did not like milking cows at all.

Mr Hurley replied, “That is what he would say.” 

Counsel put it to him that when his parents were away for a few days, his brother and sister have to help as Mr Hurley hates milking cows.

“That is untrue,” Mr Hurley replied.

He agreed he is claiming €80,000 for dairy cows which have been sold by his father and claiming the loss of a €55,000 tractor which the court heard his father bought after the accident.

The case before Mr Justice Kevin Cross continues on Tuesday.

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