'Leo needs to sort this': Family park closing over €40,000 insurance cover
The insurance crisis has claimed another victim with a family and tourist attraction set to close.
Spiralling insurance costs are behind the decision of Rathbeggan Family Adventure Park, in Meath, to close.
It offers children's activities such as zip lines, pedal boating, bouncy castles and lake fishing.
It has been operating on a 22-acre site for 21 years and also attracts corporate visitors.
Owner Dave Robinson said it welcomes between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors a year.
Mr Robinson said he has struggled to get insurance cover, and when he did he was forced to pay €40,000.
"That is more than I pay myself," he said.
He has had to get separate cover for public liability and employers' liability cover from the policy for his buildings.
"My broker told me, 'I am getting nowhere, you will have to go shopping yourself'," he said.
He said that insurers in this country will no longer cover a businesses like his, despite him having no claims in five years.
"Irish companies won't quote because they know they are on to a loser because of the compo claims across the board," he said.
He said he has run the business for two decades but has decided to close in August as the insurance costs have made it unsustainable.
Every summer the facility employs around 25 people, mainly students, who get training in customer service.
He said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is due to visit the adventure park this week, when Mr Robinson will raise the insurance crisis issue.
"We need the top to pay attention to this. Leo needs to make one phone call to sort this out," he said.
Mr Robinson is a member of the Alliance for Insurance Reform.
The Alliance wants a Garda insurance fraud unit set up, as promised by the Government.
It also wants the Judicial Council Bill, as it is proposed this committee of judges will agree to recalibrate the high levels of compensation awards in this country.
Meanwhile, the regulator of Civil Defence is hopeful that a resolution can be found to an issue that is threatening the viability of 200 festivals around the country.
First-aiders like Civil Defence are regulated by the statutory agency. There are fears Civil Defence may not have a new licence for carrying out emergency procedures in place from the independent statutory agency.
Up to now, festivals have relied on Civil Defence members to provide first-aid in the event of an accident.
But health regulators are currently reviewing its certification of Civil Defence members as first-aiders.
Regulators may not renew approval of certain Civil Defence emergency medical operations after July 31 this year.
The Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council, which regulates first-responders, said it had given Civil Defence until July to come back to it on plans for improved regulatory compliance.
It was awaiting a response from Civil Defence, but was hopeful a resolution could be found to the issue.
Executive director of the Association of Irish Festivals and Events (Aoife) Colm Croffy said as many as 200 festivals may be forced to cancel this summer and autumn if Civil Defence first-aid operations are not licensed.
"Festivals are already stretched to breaking point by rocketing insurance costs and this is the thing that will push them over the edge," he warned.
"Most festival insurers will price on the basis that emergency first aiders like Civil Defence are in attendance," Mr Croffy said.
He said that if Civil Defence personnel are not approved, the organisers will have to pay for professional paramedical teams to ensure that they can get insurance.
"Many cannot afford to do so, and if they can't get insurance, the event won't go ahead under current regulations," he added.
Mr Croffy said the dispute will have an immediate impact on the autumn and winter festival schedule across the country, with many festivals expected to be forced to cancel their planned events.