27 July 2022

The family of the late Bryan Whelan have welcomed some level of closure after the Health and Safety Authority successfully prosecuted their criminal case against the crane operator (Palfinger Ireland Ltd), and the crane hire company (Nationwide Crane Hire Ltd) who have been found responsible for the death of their son, and his colleague TJ O’Herlihy, at Thomond Bridge, Limerick, on August 29, 2015.


Judge O’Donnell, who viewed the crane involved in the tragic incident on site, and listened to all evidence at court 4, Limerick Circuit Criminal court, will deliver his sentence on Oct 7, 2022.

“While we await Judge O’Donnell’s sentencing, it must be acknowledged that the burden of proof was not met and the fatal injuries to our son were caused by the defendants beyond any reasonable doubt,” said John and Margaret Whelan, loving parents of the late Bryan Whelan, in a prepared statement read outside the court by Seán Fitzgerald, from HOMS Assist.

“The most painful experience for any parent is having to bury their child. It has been a harrowing seven-year wait to finally find some closure in this case. We now have answers, and understand how, and why, our son Bryan died tragically in this workplace accident at Thomond Bridge, Limerick on August 29, 2015.

“As the HSA successfully prosecuted this criminal case against the crane operator hire and crane hire company, we now understand who is responsible for our son’s death.

“HOMS Assist Solicitors will now continue the civil proceedings in the High Court on behalf of our family, where the defendants have not yet admitted guilt, despite the guilty pleas submitted in the criminal proceedings today.”


Earlier John Paul Whelan, brother of the deceased, read the family’s victim impact statement in courtroom 4.


He said: “We have now learned of the specific breaches of safety which have led to Bryan’s untimely death. Ultimately Bryan lost his life as he and his colleagues were exposed to unnecessary risk, caused by two companies failing to meet health and safety requirements. It pains us to know that these breaches of safety were avoidable if due consideration and respect were shown for human life.

“Bryan, and his colleague TJ O’Herlihy, paid the ultimate price that day. While we are relieved that responsibility was accepted by the defendants, we have suffered immeasurable grief and heartbreaking loss. We cannot change our circumstances, but it is our hope that lessons have been learnt and other families will not have to endure the torture and turmoil of such a catastrophic event.”


Seán Fitzgerald, Partner from HOMS Assist commented:


“We can only hope that others will recognize the need of adhering to strict health and safety requirements and that no other family suffers the same, unnecessary pain.

We will now continue the fight for justice in the civil court, where despite today’s verdict, the defendants have not yet admitted guilt.”