An elderly GAA fan who had cash and belongings stolen as he slept in a Dublin hotel has been awarded €10,200 damages for his psychological trauma.
Retired solicitor Patrick Joseph Fahy (75) told a court that it took him a full two years to get over the experience in July 2016.
Tyrone fan Mr Fahy, who now works as a legal consultant, said he visited Dublin for a Tyrone-Mayo quarter-final and booked in to the North Star Hotel in Amiens Street.
After having dinner and two glasses of wine in the city on Saturday night, he returned to his sixth-floor bedroom.
“It was a very warm July evening so I left a patio door slightly ajar from my room on to a balcony at the rear of the hotel before going to sleep,” Fahy told his counsel Kevin Byrne.
However, when he awoke on the Sunday morning he found his trouser pockets had been rifled and his belongings strewn all around the room.
About €150 and his mobile phone were missing, as well as his ticket to the match.
Mr Fahy, of Creaghmore Road, Drumquin, Omagh, told Mr Byrne he “was very shook and got physically sick”.
He was unable to contact any friends because of the loss of his phone.
The hotel gave him €120 and when gardaí arrived, they offered to find a match ticket for him.
Mr Fahy said he had met some Tyrone friends at the match and had felt somewhat better afterwards, but in the weeks following the incident he had become very upset.
He told the court that thoughts kept going through his mind about what might have happened to him had he been woken by the burglar in his room.
“I was glad I wasn’t aware of what was happening around me and I remained upset and annoyed for a considerable period of time afterwards,” he said.
Mr Fahy sued BC McGettigan Limited, which trades as the North Star Hotel, for damages of up to €60,000.
He said he visited his GP at home and was prescribed tablets aimed at lessening the stress and upset.
He also had counselling for trauma but it was a full two years before he had fully recovered from the ill effects of the burglary, he said.
Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said Mr Fahy had felt safe enough six floors up to leave his balcony door ajar – but had been unaware that the balcony was shared with six or seven other bedrooms.
Awarding Mr Fahy €10,200 damages, the judge said the court was satisfied that the criminal had gained access to his bedroom by way of the shared balcony.
He said Mr Fahy had been given no warning that his balcony was a shared facility.
A warning sign has since been attached to the balcony door.