Cash for ash: €5k damages for ‘unsightly’ mark on Limerick boy’s forehead

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

The ashes left an unsightly mark on the child’s forehead, the court heard Picture: File Image

The ashes left an unsightly mark on the child’s forehead, the court heard Picture: File Image

A COUNTY Limerick boy has been awarded €5,000 after ashes placed on his forehead on Ash Wednesday left an “unsightly mark”.

Denis Linehan, solicitor for a father and his now 13-year-old son, said the incident occurred in a County Limerick school on February 10, 2016.

“Ashes were applied to the child’s forehead. It left an unsightly mark on his forehead. He attended his GP. There were several attendances.

“There is no visible scar. For a fair period of time it left an area of brown skin,” said Mr Linehan, who added that you would “want good eyesight to see it”.

The solicitor said the boy’s contemporaries made “adverse references” towards the mark.

“Thankfully that has stopped. The mark was so prominent that he pulled his hair down to cover it,” said Mr Linehan.

Kilmallock Court heard that the offer by the insurance company - Allianz - was €5,000. If proceedings involving a child are to be settled, approval of the court is required in the procedure called an infant ruling.

Mr Linehan informed Judge Marian O’Leary that Allianz have said if the offer isn’t accepted they will defend the case and apply for a hearing.

The boy’s father took the stand and said they were accepting the offer of €5,000.

“We were hoping for a bit more but if that’s it, that’s it,” said the man.

Judge O’Leary said most people prefer if it is more.

The dad says other kids in school were calling his son names.

“It [the mark] was there for a good while after. Other kids in school called him names. It was quite prominent. You can still see a little bit of brown. It has faded,” said the father.

The boy approached the bench for Judge O’Leary to inspect his forehead.

“I’ve my glasses on and I can’t see anything. It is obviously gone,” said Judge O’Leary.

The dad said, “If you look really close”.

Judge O’Leary approved the infant ruling of €5,000. The money was lodged in court until the boy is 18. His father asked for €200 to buy his son a Christmas present. Judge O’Leary declined the application, saying “not until he is 18”.

The ashes used on Ash Wednesday, which marks the first day of Lent, are created by burning the palm crosses that were blessed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year. They are sometimes mixed with anointing oil to make sure they stick to the skin.