The Finglas area of Dublin was no longer a war zone for bus drivers as a result of peace talks involving gardaí, community groups and the company, Dublin Bus told the Circuit Civil Court on Tuesday.
The assurance was given to Judge James O’Donohue by defence barrister Jeri Ward after her colleague Tom Clarke had told the court Finglas had been like a war zone on the night bus driver Peter McGuinness had been injured by rock-throwing thugs.
Mr Clarke, who appeared with Aisling Wyer of Moloney Solicitors, Naas, for McGuinness, said Mr McGuinness’s bus had been attacked in Finglas 10 years ago, and he had suffered a laceration of his right hand when shards of glass from the smashed windscreen had fallen in on him.
McGuinness, a 51-year-old bus driver from Old Connell Weir, Newbridge, Co Kildare, said the attacks against buses were still happening in some areas of Dublin.
He said he had asked to be taken off the Finglas to Dublin Centre route and had been transferred by the company. As a result of the attack he had undergone counselling and had been referred to a psychiatrist who had prescribed Valium for him.
Mr Clarke told Judge O’Donohue the attack had taken place on St Helena’s Road, Finglas, Dublin 11. A gang of youths had thrown stones and rocks, described by Mr McGuinness as small boulders, at the bus.
He said the bus windows were vulnerable to such attacks in that they were only double-glazed instead of having modern tri-glazed laminated safety windows currently used in new Dublin Bus vehicles.
Ms Ward, who appeared with CIE solicitor Colm Costello, said new buses in the Dublin Bus fleet now came with reinforced glass to international standards but the bus in question on the night of May 18, 2012 had been a 10-year-old bus.
She said the bus in question on the night of the attack had been also been fitted to then existing international safety standards. Only emergency vehicles were fitted with unbreakable reinforced glass at the time of the 2012 incident.
Mr Clarke told the court it was the responsibility of Dublin Bus to protect its drivers as well as passengers and glass that did not erupt into shards should have been installed at the time. He claimed the company had not carried out a risk assessment of the consequences of such attacks on its buses and was in breach of its duty to his client.
Judge O’Donohue, who said Mr McGuinnes appeared to be a man who had “not laid it on” during his evidence and invited the parties to have out of court discussions. Mr McGuinness had shown the judge the permanent scar that resulted from his injury.
Later Mr Clarke said the case had been settled, and the proceedings could be struck out with an order for Mr McGuinness’s legal costs.
The figure of settlement in the €60,000 personal injuries claim was not publicly divulged in court. Mr McGuinness said he was still working for Dublin Bus.