Community groups in Fingal under threat from insurance

83% of community groups Fingal have seen insurance costs rise in last 3 years

35% say their group is in danger of stopping altogether if insurance costs continue to rise

Fingal Public Participation Network (PPN) has warned that rising insurance costs and increased red tape are threatening the county’s community and voluntary groups, as the Public Participation Networks nationally published the results of a major survey which clearly illustrates the grip the insurance crisis has taken on Irish society.

Headlines national figures from the research include:

  • 83% of community groups have seen insurance costs rise in last 3 years
  • 45% have had to reduce the number and range of activities they can undertake
  • 80% say it is very hard to find funding streams that will cover insurance costs
  • 47% say their group is in danger of stopping altogether if insurance costs continue to rise
  • 88% think the government is not doing enough to try and tackle rising insurance costs

Commenting on the publication Jamie Moore of the Fingal PPN said “the country’s PPNs represent around 15,000 member groups; community and voluntary groups providing a wealth of services to Ireland’s communities. The figures in this survey merely confirm what we are hearing from them every day of the week. The infrastructure of volunteering in Ireland is being threatened by spiralling insurance costs, unavailability of insurance cover and increasingly unreasonable exclusions and conditions. While SME’s typically close if they are hit with massive premium increases, community groups tend to wind down key activities and soldier on. This means much of the impact of this crisis has being hidden up to now because they are not closing. In this context it is shocking to see 47% of survey respondents saying they may have to close up.”

Headlines Fingal figures from the research include:

  • 10% of the overall respondents of the survey are Fingal PPN members.
  • 83% of community groups have seen insurance costs rise in last 3 years
  • 44% have had to reduce the number and range of activities they can undertake
  • 65% say it is very hard to find funding streams that will cover insurance costs
  • 35% say their group is in danger of stopping altogether if insurance costs continue to rise
  • 88% think the government is not doing enough to try and tackle rising insurance costs
  • The types of groups involved include Sports Clubs, Community Centres, Residents Association, Men’s Groups, Heritage Clubs, Youth Services, Tidy Towns and more.
  • 41% of community groups in Fingal are now paying premiums of over €1,000 per year for their insurance.

Scouting organisations in the county have seen an insurance increase of 38% per member. A community employment scheme, which is designed to help people who are long-term employed through placement with local community organisations has seen its premium rise from €1,500 per annum to over €4,000 per annum resulting in a significant cut to its services such as winter training, coaching, and children dropping out due to raising participation costs. Many Fingal community organisations respondents also noted they have to fundraise to cover their insurance costs.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “The Government has still not established the long-promised and much-heralded Judicial Council, intended to address sky-high damages for minor injuries among other things. If the Government is serious about protecting voluntary and community groups they must accelerate the process of establishing the Judicial Council and do everything in their control to facilitate the Judiciary in addressing this crucial issue. Equally, we would urge the Judiciary to proceed with the general damages review process as a matter of urgency and reflect the common good in using the guiding principles of recent court decisions to set damages for minor injuries at moderate, proportionate and common-sense levels. Finally, after nearly three years of deliberation, there is no sign of any enhanced operational response by An Garda Síochána to insurance fraud. We would urge the Ministers for Finance and Justice to fund this essential action using the reserves currently being taken from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board and rolled into Exchequer funds”.

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