23rd February, 2022
The plaintiff was the father of the injured child and acted as his next friend in the proceedings. In 2015, the plaintiff travelled with his family to Tenerife on a package holiday organised by Sunway Travel Limited. The child was three years old at the time. The holiday cost €3,596 for the two-week stay.
Shortly after they arrived at the apartment/hotel, the plaintiff father hit his fingers on the ceiling fan while changing his t-shirt. The plaintiff was a tall man, standing at 6′ 3″. The following morning, the plaintiff went to the reception and expressed a concern that the ceiling fan was too far too low and dangerous. It represented a hazard. The plaintiff was told there was no other accommodation available, despite asking a second time on the third day.
On the fourth day of the holiday, the child began crying. The plaintiff went to comfort the infant child and lifted him up. Unfortunately, the plaintiff did not realise that he was standing under the ceiling fan. The plaintiff lifted the infant child above his head, where the ceiling fan (which was on due to the weather being very hot) struck the child.
The child suffered a cut on his head and was very distressed. The child was taken to a local GP’s surgery where he received three stitches to mend the laceration. The stitches were removed before the end of the holiday.
On their return to the aparthotel, the family complained to the manager, who apologised and stated that there was other available accommodation in the premises, to which the plaintiff immediately moved. This was an air-conditioned apartment with no ceiling fans.
The case was lost in the Circuit Court and was heard on appeal in the High Court.
Mr Justice Cian Ferriter determined that, on the facts of the case, there was a breach of the duty of reasonable skill and care on the part of the holiday company, which rendered it liable under section 20 of the Package Holidays Trade and Travel Act 1995. The child was awarded €8,500. The court also awarded €3,596 to reimburse the father for the holiday.