Excessive pay-outs are cultivating a compo culture
Future local events damaged by unjustified claims
ISME, the Irish SME Association, today (30th November) highlights the real cost of our compensation culture on everyday life and the other costs being inflicted on society. The Association notes the case of the girl who won €47,000 in a personal injuries action settled last month. The plaintiff broke her collar bone in an accident at a fun day in Lucan Sarsfields GAA club as a result of being pushed in an inflatable plastic ball in 2013. She had to wear a sling for 15 weeks, but is now recovered.
While the obvious issue is how anyone could reasonably conclude that a broken bone in a playground accident could be worth €47,000, the less obvious issue is the effect this will have on the GAA (and other sports clubs) offering their facilities for local events.
This isn’t just a matter of money. In 2014, a Dublin City University (DCU) study found that 89% of adolescents in Ireland have not mastered fundamental movement skills they should have mastered by the age of six – such as running, skipping and kicking a ball. Yet defensive management of sporting and other facilities is creating a chilling effect on the organisers of events with any form of physical activity.
The GAA has warned clubs in its November newsletter that GAA insurance will not cover clubs for such incidents: Event organisers must provide their own indemnity.
ISME, the Irish SME Association asks “the Judiciary and the Government to reflect upon the long-term effects of these sorts of decisions by sports and social clubs, which are entirely driven by the level of awards and settlements under our Book of Quantum. The situation is fixable, if the political will is there.”
The Association added,
“It will not be possible for many event organisers to provide hosts such as the GAA, the IRFU, or the FAI, with public indemnity. The alternative will be to run events on a self-insured basis, an uninsured basis, or not to run them at all. If this trend continues, our society will be a far poorer place for all our children, even those who make €47,000 from a broken bone.