Stag attack on ESB worker will ‘forever haunt’ him as he settles case

No employee should be left alone especially when in very remote places, says worker

A former ESB worker who was tossed into the air by a stag on a Tipperary mountain said the attack would forever haunt him.

In a statement after he settled his High Court action against the ESB on Friday, John Corcoran (63) said: “While I am so grateful to be alive and be here today the attack I endured that day will forever haunt me.

“Being left for dead in a bush for over an hour and a half having narrowly escaped death is not a risk in the workplace that should ever be allowed to happen. I truly hope lessons have been learned,” he added.

He said no employee “particularly in the already dangerous line of work of the ESB” should ever be left alone, especially when working so remotely.

Mr Corcoran said it was deeply regrettable that the case and the accident occurred and he claimed it could so easily have been prevented “with better support and working conditions from the ESB”.

Mr Corcoran’s case had been adjourned after he had to attend hospital when he had an asthma attack in the witness box this week.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey was, on Friday, told the case had been settled and another case brought by Mr Corcoran against the ESB in relation to alleged exposure to asbestos had also been settled.

The terms of the settlements are confidential.

John Corcoran was an engineering officer with the ESB and was on his way to check on a mast when the stag attacked him on a forestry path at Kilduff Mountain outside Templemore, Co Tipperary, six years ago.

Rutting season
The attack took place in September 2016 during what is traditionally rutting season.

Mr Corcoran, of Fawnlough, Nenagh, Co Tipperary, had sued ESB Networks Designated Activity Company with a registered address at Clanwilliam House, Clanwilliam Place, Dublin and the Electricity Supply Board with a registered address at East Wall, Dublin, over the stag attack on September 12th, 2016.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey was told that liability had been admitted in the case which was before the court for the assessment of damages only.

The court previously heard Mr Corcoran’s case includes a claim for a total of €420,000 in loss of earnings.

It was claimed that Mr Corcoran had been permitted to work alone in a mountain area during the deer mating season when it ought to reasonably have been known that it was dangerous and unsafe to do so.

It was further claimed there was a failure to have in place any warning device, panic alarm, man-down system or automatic distress message system for persons working alone in isolated areas.

In evidence, Mr Corcoran said it was a really lovely summer’s day when the attack happened.

“A herd of deer crossed the path in front of me. I said wouldn’t it be a lovely picture and then I got a sense of fear. The hairs on my neck were standing. I looked behind me and there was a stag 15 paces back from me,” he said.

He started to run but he said the stag hit him with force, his antlers creating eight puncture wounds on Mr Corcoran’s rucksack and wounding him in the shoulder.

“He propelled me through the air at speed over a bank and into the scrub. I lost my helmet and glasses,” he said.

The stag continued to attack with feet and antlers but Mr Corcoran said he had a rod and managed to hit the stag a few times in the nostrils, but it reared up on his hind legs and came crashing down on him.

Mr Corcoran said he lost consciousness for an estimated 10-12 minutes but later managed to reach his phone and summon help.

His solicitor, Seán Fitzgerald of HOMS Assist, after the announcement of the settlements said it was miraculous Mr Corcoran had survived the stag attack.

“We are only grateful that his case is one that highlights the role of care and responsibility that employers have for their employees. We are pleased that Mr Corcoran now has some closure and that he and his family have the financial support for the care he requires for his life-changing injuries,” he added.