Thoughts from Cuckoo HQ
Mar 14

Woman Climbs 4m Gate At Gig, Hurts Arm, But Is Only 20% Responsible. Wow.

I'm beginning to think that concert promoters and event organisers will have to start a free 'buddy system' at gigs, providing an individual member of staff to hold each attendee's hand and mind them from start to finish. It seems like this may be the only way to 'do enough' in the eyes of the Irish courts.

On Friday last I spotted this article on about a girl who sued MCD for injuries she sustained while climbing over a 4m high gate after the Oasis concert in Slane in 2009

While I fully accept that I'm not privy to the full facts in this particular case, even if you just go on what's reported in the article I'm astounded at the ruling handed down by the judge. 

It seems Ms. Karen McCormack (pictured above) decided it was a good idea to climb a 4m high gate at the Dublin Road entrance to the Slane concert site. The gate had spikes on the top of it and apparently Ms. McCorkmack became impaled on one of the spikes while up there. 

Now, I'm not for one second saying that it serves her right but I am questioning how the judge decided she was only 20% responsible for the accident. 

The judge did note that Ms. McCormack was not a 5 year old on a school trip and there was an issue of contributory negligence in relation to climbing the gate. 

Still, having noted that, she decided that Ms. McCormack was only 20% responsible for the accident. 

Counsel for MCD made the point that Ms. McCormack had passed 3 main exits en route to the woodland path that led to the Dublin Road entrance and the gate where the accident happened. 

Ms. McCormack's defence was that MCD should have had signs up notifying people that the Dublin Road entrance would not be an exit once the concert had finished. 

It seems the judge agreed and also suggested MCD should have had staff at the entrance to the woodland path and at the actual gate too. 

The article also mentioned that the 600 security staff had been stood down at 11.45pm, with the accident happening at 1.30am. 

I have some questions

  • How does it make sense that this woman is only 20% responsible for her actions here? SHE decided to climb a gate with spikes on it. While MCD may not be entirely blameless in this one I find it ridiculous that only 20% blame is attributed to Ms. McCormack.
  • Isn't it great that the judge is an expert in how to communicate with large concert crowds?
  • Isn't it further fantastic that the judge is also well versed in the positioning of security staff at events with 80,000 people in attendance?
  • Is Ms. McCormack's defence not extremely weak? Despite passing 3 main exits she decided (for whatever reason) that she wanted to leave by the entrance she came in. Upon arriving to it she found a locked gate and thought she'd climb it. Genius. 
  • What were Ms. McCormack's friends doing? Watching her climb the gate? Egging her on? Climbing it with her?
  • Honestly - if YOU did the same thing and hurt yourself would you only feel 20% responsible? I doubt it. 
  • Were the security staff actually stood down by 11.45pm? I'd find that a bit odd. 

Why I'm annoyed

Planning and organising events is very difficult, especially on the scale of Slane with around 80,000 people in attendance. 

You combine a lot of elements in an effort to keep everyone safe. 

Among those elements are:

  • Staffing
  • Signage
  • Site design
  • Lighting
  • PA announcements
  • Medical staff
  • Welfare staff
  • Info on tickets

. . . and so on and so on. . . 

I'm not defending MCD here. Maybe they WERE short on signs. Maybe the staff WERE stood down early. Maybe reallocating staff WOULD be a good idea.

With all that siad I still can not for the life of me see how this young lady is only 20% responsible for her accident.

There MUST be a siginificant level of personal responsibility on the parts of those attending events. 


There's only so much event organisers can do to keep you safe. 

If you're going to go climbing 4m high gates with spikes on top then you might hurt yourself. 

Who knew?

Mark Breen
March 4, 2014, 09:27 AM

Nigel, Yeah they are. They have a question mark and all.

nigel gaffney
March 4, 2014, 12:45 AM

The second two aren't questions!

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