‘Parrot’ court case: Limerick pet store employee reaches multi-million euro settlement with HSE

A YOUNG Limerick woman who claims she contracted a rare brain disease from parrots while working in a pet store has reached a multi-million euro settlement with the HSE, understood to be potentially the largest of its kind.

A YOUNG Limerick woman who claims she contracted a rare brain disease from parrots while working in a pet store has reached a multi-million euro settlement with the HSE, understood to be potentially the largest of its kind.

Patricia Ingle, 22, whose family live in Murroe but is originally from Ballinacurra Weston in the city, is paralysed, wheelchair-bound and has to be fed through a tube after contracting a rare disease while working at the Petmania pet store at Ennis Road, Limerick, in 2008.

Ms Ingle had taken a case against the store and the HSE, claiming she was given no health and safety training or warnings about the dangers of working with animals when she began working in the store.

This Thursday Ms Ingle reached a settlement with the HSE, thought to be the largest one ever reached for a structured payment scheme, involving a lump sum payment in excess of €3m made immediately up front, with the settlment expected to run to millions of euro over the course of the Limerick woman’s lifetime.

Speaking afterward, she said she was grateful for the legal assistance in the case, adding: “Only for it I would be imprisoned in a hospital room through no fault of my own. Now I am free”.

Ms Ingle’s action also involved Petmania Limited, Jetland Retail Park, Ennis Road, Limerick and its parent company O’Keeffe’s of Kilkenny Limited, Springhill, Kilkenny, who denied liability in the case. Lawyers for the HSE said it would be pursuing the pet shop for liability but this case was also settled, according to reports.

The exact amount of structures payments will be decided in two years time. The previous record settlement reached in such a case was €7.5m.

FOR MORE ON THIS STORY SEE NEXT MONDAY’S LIMERICK LEADER