Two women have lost separate High Court claims for damages over injuries they suffered getting out of a swing at a Tipperary playground.
Sarah Kennedy, from Clogheen, Cahir in Co Tipperary, and Susan O'Mahoney, of Goatenbridge, Ardfinnan, Clonmel, had both sued over ankle injuries they had sustained on separate occasions as they got out of a "bird's nest" basket swing in a community playground in Newcastle in Co Tipperary.
Dismissing the cases, Mr Justice Michael Twomey found there was no negligence or breach of duty by Tipperary County Council.
He expressed concern about the "chilling effect" of such litigation on the provision of play facilities for children, and the freedoms of all citizens.
The judge said such a chilling effect could be an issue even where the litigation was unsuccessful.
He found the accidents were caused by two adults deciding to use equipment not designed for adult use. He said common sense would tell any adult they should not use a swing designed to be used by children.
The judge said it would be more appropriate to bring cases such as these in the district court, where legal costs are much lower.
He said, however, that an "impecunious plaintiff" with an "unmeritorious claim" for a minor injury who is hoping for a settlement, might bring a claim in the higher court, for "economic reasons".
In a court with higher legal fees, there would be a greater incentive for a defendant to settle the claim, he said.
However, he stressed that he was not suggesting that had happened in this case.
The community playground where the accidents happened was built with funds raised by the local community.
Ms O'Mahoney's injury happened in March 2016 while she was minding a young child.
As she tried to get out of the swing, she caught her ankle on the underside and suffered a fracture to her ankle. She was back working as a carer within two and a half months.
Ms Kennedy's injury happened in July 2016 when she was at the playground with her 16-month-old cousin. She also caught her ankle on the underside and suffered a fracture.
The women were acquaintances and the cases were heard together as they involved similar claims. They were seeking damages from the council at the High Court level of more than €60,000.
Both women claimed the swing height had been set too low, but the judge accepted engineering evidence that the swing was set at the right height, in compliance with the applicable standard.
The judge said there was no evidence of the swing being an injury risk to children who used it on their own.
A notice at the playground made it clear it was for the use of children, and he said there was a duty on adults to take reasonable care for their own safety.
If the swing height was raised, that would make it less safe for use by children, he said.
The judge said that even if the claims had merit, they should have been taken in the district court, and if there had been any entitlement to damages, a reasonable and proportionate award would have been between €5,000 and €7,000.