Joesph Kearney v Tipperary County Council and Roadstone Wood Ltd 2019

Excessive bitumen sealant


On the 26th December 2011, Mr Joseph Kearney, the Pursuer, an experienced road cyclist, was cycling with the Carrick Wheelers Cycling Club on the public highway in County Tipperary.

As he approached a curve in the road, his bicycle wheel suddenly slipped after coming into contact with excessive bitumen sealant on the road surface and he was thrown from his bicycle.

Joseph suffered from a broken back. He experienced severe pain for 9 months and thereafter suffered from a fairly significant amount of pain for two years.


The Pursuer brought his case to the High Court of Ireland. He told the Court that he was familiar with the road as he cycles it every weekend. His argument was the bitumen on the road was lethal and had caused him to fall.

The engineer for the Pursuer told the Court that, by law, the bitumen sealant should not have exceeded one inch and it should have included grit to ensure grip.

The road in question had initially only been partially surfaced and when it had been resurfaced, the bitumen patch had been significantly wider than what it ought to have been, and there had been no grit in the mixture.

The engineer for the First Defender, Tipperary County Council, agreed that the original works carried out on the road had been left unfinished, later repaired and that these works had not complied with the National Roads Authority specifications.


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