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Northern Ireland news

Child awarded 'grief' compensation for sister who died before he was born

Vanessa Siatka died in 2015 after being struck by a hit and run driver, her brother - who was not conceived at the time - has received compensation.

A toddler has been awarded 'grief money' in compensation for the death of his sister in a hit-and-run incident in Dublin which occurred before he was born.

Marcel Siatka was born in May 2016, a year and 47 days after his sister Vanessa, who was a month shy of her second birthday, died after being hit by a car in Phoenix Park.

Barrister Conor Kearney, representing the children's father Lukasz Siatka, told Judge Terence O'Sullivan in the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin that the Injuries Board had assessed damages of €42,777 to be divided between the child'ssurviving family and to include the cost of her funeral.

However, Mr Kearney said the board had not considered compensation for Marcel as he had not been born at the time.

The court was told the funeral, including a headstone, had cost €7,240 and the solatium, more commonly known as tear money, had been assessed at €14,500 each for Vanessa's father and mother, with €2,000 each for three grandparents. There were also other expenses.

Judge O'Sullivan said it was "not a particularly nice exercise" to have to divide money between members of the family but he felt it would be appropriate to mark the fact that the little boy would undoubtedly make inquiries in the future about his sister and would experience grief for her loss.

He said the €6,000 allocated to three grandparents should be reduced to €1,500 each to allow the child receive €1,500 and he directed that Marcel's money be paid into court for his future benefit.

A Dublin man was sentenced to seven years in prison, with the final two years suspended, for dangerous driving in relation to the 2015 incident that caused the death of the little girl.

Victims in hit-and-run cases in the Republic are eligible for compensation through a special fund set up under the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 called the "Solatium Fund."

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