Three company directors have been given suspended prison sentences for breaches of health and safety legislation, following the death of an employee in 2006.

The company, Technical Engineering and Tooling Services, which manufactures equipment for the pharmaceutical and aviation industries and is based in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, was also fined €50,000 by Judge Anthony Kennedy at Mullingar Circuit Court, sitting in Tullamore.

Before the court were Tommy Kelly, Eugene Sheil, and John Hunt, all with addresses in Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

The court heard that the employee, John Knight, was working at a milling machine, when a part failed, causing a drill bit to fly out and strike him on the head. He died in hospital two days later.

Judge Anthony Kennedy said there had been a ‘woeful failure’ on behalf of the defendants to learn from a previous accident.

Outlining some of the specific failures, Judge Kennedy said that interlocks had been bypassed, handmade extension bars used, wrong data inputted, warnings on the machine ignored and there was no inspection supervision.

He said that the deceased was 'killed by the accused, like being shot in the head with a bullet'.

David Knight, a brother of the dead man, said he had to come to Ireland from Scotland 19 times to attend court cases relating to the tragedy.

Mr Knight welcomed the judge's comments about the company's behaviour and felt that the safety standards at the company were 'Victorian'.

‘You shouldn't go to your work and fail to come home,’ he said.