Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has expressed frustration with the frantic pace of promised reform of duty of care legislation, which will amend a number of sections of the Occupiers Liability Act 1995, to limit the liability exposure of occupants to liability insurance claims.
This is essential legislation, which many businesses across the country literally depend on to keep them open in the face of the crippling increase in insurance premiums in recent years that has decimated businesses.
“I met Minister Sean Fleming a year ago following a situation where Squirrel Scramble Tree Adventure Park nearly closed following insurance increases which saw their premium drop from £26,000 to €88,000 in the space of a year Minister Fleming’s previous commitments were for naught.
What is needed is a simple amendment to a number of sections of the Occupiers Liability Act 1995, aimed at limiting the liability of occupants. Legislation must strike the right balance between ensuring businesses, community groups and event organizers meet their duty of care responsibilities, while recognizing the importance of personal responsibility for visitors, recreational users and intruders.
Minister Fleming said at the time that Minister McEntee would prioritize the legislation, but a year later it is still undrafted. Meanwhile, businesses are grappling with escalating costs due to the cost of living crisis, and the government’s failure to reform the insurance industry is compounding the extreme pressures businesses are under.
We are as far as ever. Businesses are facing even bigger increases to their insurance premiums, and again, all we have from the government is the vague promise of progress down the line.
It’s unacceptable, it’s anti-corporate and it’s anti-community. The government must act immediately to alleviate the pressure that its failure to meet the legislative requirements necessary for insurance sector reform continues to place on business owners.