A HIGH COURT settlement relating to the death of four-year-old Clodagh Cullen has been reached five years after her death.
There were poignant scenes as legal representatives embraced Clodagh’s parents Anthony and Ann Marie. €40,000 was awarded to the Cullen family in respect of the death of the youngster after insurance company, Royal Sun Alliance admitted liability.
Clodagh Cullen was killed after having been knocked down at Castle Avenue, Thomastown close to her grandparents home on September 4, 2007.“Liability was initially denied and subsequently admitted by the defendant. This is a great tragedy where the plaintiffs lost their daughter and they feel let down by the system and feel that there was no proper inquiry into the circumstances of their daughter’s death,” barrister Jeremy Maher said.
The Cullen family were living temporarily at Mrs Cullen’s mothers house at the time of their daughter’s death. Counsel described both sets of grandparents as ‘rocks of support’ to Clodagh’s parents. The court also heard evidence that Clodagh’s brother Nathan, who was eight at the time was present at the time of the incident. Evidence was heard that the two children were very close to each other.The court heard that the driver of the car was practising camogie and was on her way back from the GAA grounds. “The estate was full of children and for reasons the Cullen family cannot understand she failed to see their daughter,” added Mr Maher.
Anthony Cullen told the judge that he and his family are still trying to come to terms with what happened.
“This is not a day for jubiliatioin. It is a day for Clodagh and for getting some sort of justice for her. We are still devastated after all these years. I don’t think we will get over this. She was so full of life and so ahead of herself. It was such a horrible thing to lose her. I think about her every day and visit her grave every night. She always wanted me to put her to bed and the only way I can say good night to her now is to go down to her grave,” her father said.
Judge Eamon De Valera ruled in favour of the settlement describing the case as ‘harrowing’. “I appreciate that you can never mend a broken heart,” he added.
Clodagh Cullen spent eight days on a ventilator at St Luke’s Hospital following the accident and died on September 12, 2007.
“As it stands Clodagh’s legacy is that she ran out in front of the car, causing Trish Dempsey to hit and kill her. The last five and a half years have been agonising and this has been exasperated by the fact that many questions still remain about the circumstances of the accident,” her parents said following the case.
Monies from the awards will go towards developing a memorial garden in Clodagh’s memory.