Six High Court actions have been launched by the family of an American couple who died after their pony and trap plunged down a steep rocky ravine in the Gap of Dunloe, Killarney, Co Kerry.
The family of Rosalyn Joy Few, 64, and her partner Normand Larose, 62, have sued Kerry County Council and the pony and trap driver over the accident at the Kerry beauty spot five years ago.
The cases, which are being handled by Killarney solicitor Adrian Hegarty of Malone Hegarty solicitors, Killarney, Co Kerry, are listed to commence in the High Court in the first week in July. It is likely they will all be heard together.
When the cases were called before Mr Justice Paul Coffey last month, the judge fixed a date in the first week of July for the hearing of the actions.
All the claims made in each case are denied.
The family members are suing Kerry County Council and trap driver Dan Casey, of Beaufort, Killarney, as a result of the accident on April 9, 2018.
Rosalyn Joy Few and her partner Normand Larose of Phoenix, Arizona, who were on the second day of their dream holiday to Ireland, were in the first pony and trap with members of their family travelling in two other traps behind, when the accident happened on the narrow mountain pass towards Kate Kearney’s Cottage.
Ms Few’s family have filed five of the actions. Ms Few’s daughter, Tonya Tier, of West Richmond, Washington, has sued on behalf of her family over the death of her mother and also sued for nervous shock. Ms Tier’s husband, Bill Walther, and children Gavin and Kaitlyn have sued for nervous shock.
Mr Larose’s brother, Yvan Larose, from Magog, Quebec, Canada, has brought a separate action on behalf of the Larose family, who live in Canada, over the death of Normand Larose in the accident.
In all of the actions, it is claimed the pony and trap was allegedly caused to lose control on an alleged particularly treacherous stretch of roadway and tumble into a deep ravine.
It is further claimed there was an alleged failure to have any policies, procedures, protocols or other methods in place to ensure the safety of visitors to the Gap of Dunloe.
In the proceedings, it is further claimed there was an alleged failure to erect any barriers, warning signs or other measures to ensure the safety of visitors approaching that particular section of the roadway.
There was, it is contended, an alleged failure to warn visitors or passengers of the danger which allegedly existed.
Ms Tier and members of the family who were at the Gap of Dunloe have further claimed they came upon a scene of utter horror where the pony and trap carrying Ms Few and Mr Larose had tumbled down the ravine and was lying on the rocks below.
They each claim they suffered a severe and significant shock as a result of the extremely and devastating event.
Mr Walther further claims his trauma has been compounded by the fact that in a sense he became a first responder and climbed down to help free his mother in law and her partner.
Kaitlyn Walther, who is now 20 years of age, and was in the trap behind her grandparents, along with her brother Gavin, at the time of the accident has further claimed she attempted to shield her brother from the accident. Gavin is now 14 years old.
All the claims are denied by the defendants.
An inquest held in 2019 into the deaths heard Ms Few, of Phoenix, Arizona, and Mr Larose, also of Arizona and originally from Canada, had both died of blunt force trauma, with severe traumatic brain injury due to a fall on rocks.
The six-man jury returned a verdict of accidental death after almost three hours of evidence.