Gardeners face insurance costs for ride-on mowers
EU officials are considering plans to introduce motor insurance for ride-on lawnmowers.
The cost of insuring a machine could be as high as €125 a year, but the move has been criticised by gardening groups here who say it is unfair "to target hobbies" in a bid to create extra revenue.
The proposal by the European Union follows a legal action currently being heard at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg involving a Slovenian man who was hurt after he fell off a ladder when it was struck by a reversing tractor.
Motor insurance companies are refusing to cover the man's claim as it took place on private property.
They argue a person's private home insurance should be responsible for dealing with such claims.
European Union officials involved in the case say that motor insurance should cover all mechanically-propelled vehicles, whether driven on roads or private property, including machines such as ride-on lawnmowers.
The European Court of Justice is due to deliver its verdict on the case on September 4.
A spokesperson for the Department of Transport told the Irish Independent that Minister Paschal Donohoe was aware of the case and had discussed the matter with other European countries.
"The department has met with European counterparts on the issue and is now awaiting the judgement," he said.
"Once the judgement has been made, the department will examine the implications for Ireland."
He added that the department has already set up meetings with other governmental departments to be held once the judgement has been made.
However, the move to insure lawnmowers was last night criticised by the country's leading horticultural group which said many gardeners would already have insurance to cover theft of lawnmowers and said another charge was unfair.
"We would be concerned by such a regulation because it is yet another charge on an individual in the pursuit of a hobby," the chairman of the Royal Horticultural Society's finance committee, Peter Harrison, said.
UK Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said he will oppose the introduction of the insurance requirement for lawnmowers.
Mr Harrison said he would like to see Mr Donohoe oppose the move as well.
"It's a charge on the exercise and fulfilment of a most-rewarding hobby for the amateur gardener.
"I would hope a strong stance against this is taken by our own government," he said.