A 73-year-old West Clare farmer credits his fitness and his time in the boxing ring with how he survived being involved in a “Furious Bullfight” at Kilrush Market seven years ago.
Outside Ennis Circuit Court, James Vincent Fitzpatrick told the court but only because he was “very fit” and his time in the boxing ring “I was a dead man”.
“I don’t think anyone else would have made it out alive. Just because I’m the type of man who doesn’t give up – you have to kill me before I die.”
During his personal injury claim against Clare Marts Limited and Clare Co-Operative Marts Limited, Mr Fitzpatrick collapsed on the witness stand while recounting the bullfight in the back of Kilrush Market on 7th October 2015 in which he suffered a ‘crush’ injury on right leg.
Mr Fitzpatrick, a farmer and cattle truck from Burrane, Killimer, described how he was carrying a bull, steer and cow to his truck when another bull came “like a rocket” out of a market chute.
“It was like lightning when this other bull came up from behind – unexpected. The bull roared and he jerked and the bull I was driving turned around and he whipped me across.
“It’s a miracle that I’m here today. I was between the two bulls – they were big bulls.”
Mr Fitzpatrick’s solicitor, Lorcan Connolly BL, told the court one bull weighed 995kg and the second bull weighed 960kg.
Mr Fitzpatrick said: “The two bulls rammed on either side and just because I happened to spend time in the boxing ring years ago didn’t give me a fright – anyone else would have fallen from fright.”
He recounted his time in the boxing ring when “a handy guy slapped a belt on me just as I was about to box… If you’re not careful you’ll get killed, but that day in the ring I was in the market. It was the best.
“I was very athletic – I keep myself very fit – I go dancing every weekend – always at this stage.”
He also recalled how he was able to climb a gate, and he said how one bull drove the other back “and his ass hit my leg”.
“The other bull jabbed him and threw him through the ring. The fight raged between the two bulls. It was serious stuff.”
Mr Fitzpatrick said he was on goal for eight or nine minutes.
“It was cruel to the end of the world. It was wild. I tried to hold onto the bar. The agony and the pain. It was scary. I was lucky not to have a heart attack or fall and be killed.”
Mr Fitzpatrick broke down in tears for the second time on the witness stand and said: “I still see a cop being picked up by another cop and slammed into the wall right next to me.”
Mr Connolly said it was Mr Fitzpatrick’s case that the market was totally negligent in releasing the bull when Mr Fitzpatrick loaded the three other animals onto his truck.
The Mart denied liability, but after Mr Fitzpatrick and other witnesses completed their evidence, an offer was made to Mr Fitzpatrick after lunch and Mr Connolly was able to tell Judge Comerford that the case had been settled and could be dropped without a warrant.
Speaking out of court after Mr Fitzpatrick said he was “very happy” the case was settled.
Mr Fitzpatrick’s attorney, Patrick Moylan, said: “Mr Fitzpatrick is delighted. He feels validated.
“The Mart obviously gave him full proof of his case and he came here and he proved his case as far as we’re concerned and things are settled and he’s pleased about that.”
Outside the court, Mr Fitzpatrick said: “It’s been a long journey – my leg still hurts and I still dream of the bull. The fight of the bulls was unreal.”
Earlier, Mr. Fitzpatrick said that the store’s staff were able to help him off the railing.
Mr Fitzpatrick said he was in “a lot of pain all the time” for a few days after the bull incident. He said: “The marks from that day are still on my leg but it’s not as bad as it was.
“My wife, Mary, helped me bathe it in water for 30 days in cold and hot water. I would put a sock over that in bed at night to keep it warm.”
Market advocate Emmet O’Brien BL told Mr Fitzpatrick: “We say a bull made contact with your leg but it was caused by your inability to close the gate in time.”
Mr Fitzpatrick denied this. Mart clerk Michael Clancy told the court Mr Fitzpatrick said to him after the incident, “My good man, it’s going to take a lot more to knock me down.”
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/courts/farmer-thought-he-was-a-dead-man-during-raging-bull-fight-at-mart-41696538.html Farmer thought he was a dead man during the “Furious Bullfight” at the market