Two companies have been fined for breaches of health and safety which led to the drownings of two people in Limerick seven years ago.
29-year-old Bryan Whelan from Clare and 36-year-old TJ O'Herlihy of Kerry were stonemasons and died in the River Shannon as they carried out repairs on Thomand Bridge on August 29th, 2015.
A safety mechanism on a crane holding the two men, and a third worker in a steel cage failed.
Nationwide Crane Hire Limited on Dock Road in Limerick were fined 200 thousand euro, while Palfinger Ireland Limited which operates from Tullamore in Offaly were fine 25 thousand.
At a previous hearing loved ones of the deceased had to leave court after becoming distressed seeing video footage of the incident.
A mechanism preventing weight overloading on the crane failed causing a wire to snap which sent the steel cage into the River Shannon.
Mr Whelan and Mr O'Herlihy - who were wearing life jackets - couldn't escape the steel cage.
Palfinger supplied the winch crane to Nationwide on March 12th, 2003, but unbeknown to Palfinger, the crane’s user manual was missing a chapter on the importance of frequently carrying out testing of the crane’s overload protection system - It later emerged this mechanism failed on the day of the “catastrophic tragedy”.
The crane had been mounted onto a flat-bed lorry which was positioned on the bridge with an extendable telescopic winch that held the three workers in a steel cage via a wire rope or cable.
Palfinger pleaded guilty to failing to take steps necessary to ensure Nationwide was provided with adequate information about the crane and its operations, to ensure that when it was in use it would be safe.
Nationwide pleaded guilty that, being an employer, it failed to ensure that contracted workers were not exposed to risks to their safety, health and welfare, and that it failed to ensure the winch crane was in a safe condition, in particular, the overload protection system, and “as a consequence TJ O’Herlihy and Bryan Whelan died”, the court heard.