'Pay-out culture' blamed as wall climbing centre restricts access to facilities

'Pay-out culture' blamed as wall climbing centre restricts access to facilities
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A wall climbing centre has announced it has to restrict those who can access its facilities as it has been unable to secure public liability insurance.

Management at Suas Climbing Centre in Clare - which claims to be the only dedicated climbing centre in the country's midwest - has issued a notice to customers to highlight its “plight” and say the “entire leisure industry in Ireland is under threat of closure” due to insurance issues.

The notice says the centre has “exhausted all standard avenues to secure an insurance quote for a new premium”.

It also says that a combination of Brexit uncertainty and a compensation claim "pay-out culture" is to blame for its predicament.

“Notwithstanding the price of insurance itself, to date we have not even been able to secure a quote,” the centre said.

“As such we are now operating without Public Liability Insurance.

"This is something we are actively working very hard to resolve."

The centre said that as a result, it has to restrict access to adults and members only who must climb at their own risk.

“That means we need to cancel Under 14's, youth clubs, group sessions, and parties until further notice," the centre said in its message.

"This could be days, weeks or months before the situation is resolved."

"We sincerely apologize for any climber put out. It is just out of our control at this time.

I’m sure you are aware that the entire leisure industry in Ireland is under threat of closure firstly from spiralling insurance costs and now the threat of no insurance at all.

“With regard to our own situation, Leisure Insure, a UK based provider, and perhaps the largest provider for the Irish market, has pulled out of Ireland altogether.

"This we are told is a result of uncertainty surrounding pay-outs awarded in the Irish courts and the looming Brexit issue.

"It is this "pay-out culture" which has resulted in Leisure Insurer’s view that the Irish market is no longer profitable.

“To date NO-ONE seems keen to enter this market again due to high pay-outs seen in Ireland, the high pay-outs that have allegedly resulted in a claims culture, and I can assure you if we close our doors, we will be one of many in this industry,” it warned.

David Hackett, one of Suas’ two directors, told the Irish Examiner that brokers had “put their tentacles far and wide” in an attempt to secure insurance, but to no avail.

He said wall climbing is an Olympic sport and of the fastest growing sports in the world.

“It is an embarrassment if the industry is lost here while it is booming around the world,” he said.

“It is a sad state of affairs, there’s something not right about that,” he said.

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