On April 4th, 2021, the Dublin Coroner’s Court gave a verdict of death due to occupational-related disease following the inquest into the death of Mr. Patrick Byrne (85), a former employee at the Semperit Tyre factory in Ballyfermot. Mr. Byrne began working at Semperit in 1973, when he was in his 40’s, and he remained working there until his retirement. Mr. Byrne died from malignant Mesothelioma; a type of Cancer caused by the inhalation of Asbestos fibres which damages the lungs and heart.
Ms. Elizabeth Sullivan, the daughter of Mr Byrne, told the Coroner’s Court that her father had experienced a severe stabbing pain in his chest a year prior to his death on March 19th, 2020.
Mr Byrne had a chest X-Ray in Tallaght Hospital following an urgent referral by his GP in February, 2020. The X-Ray confirmed Mr. Byrne had malignant Mesothelioma. Professor Stephen Lane, Respiratory Consultant and General Physician at Tallaght Hospital, in his evidence to the inquest stated Mr. Byrne had extensive exposure to Asbestos in the past. The inquest also heard that Mr. Byrne had not been a suitable candidate for Chemotherapy as the risks associated with the treatment would outweigh any minimal potential benefits.
Ms. Sullivan expressed concern that former Semperit employees, many that had been employed there longer than her father, may not be aware of Mesothelioma and how it may affect them. Mr. Byrne’s family queried whether an inquiry could be held into Asbestos related illnesses at Semperit. In response to the family’s query, Dr. Clare Keane, the Coroner, stated that the office of the Coroner has in the past contacted the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) in relation to Asbestos-related deaths.
Dr. Keane confirmed that the HSA has been raising awareness around Mesothelioma and in particular targeting those that work in the construction and demolition industry, as well as people that own buildings built prior to 2000 which are more likely to contain Asbestos. Dr. Keane offered her condolences to the Byrne family and assured them she would again raise the issue with the HSA.
How can we help?
Coleman Legal have received instructions from clients who have suffered great loss due to work-related hardships. If you have been affected somehow, and if you have been affected by a workplace fatality, you can contact our employment liability solicitors to discuss how to vindicate your rights. Nonetheless, if you are unsure about work-related hazards or what constitutes a work-related injury, you can read more here Accident at Work – Work injury.