As businesses, charities, sports, and community organisations take faltering steps towards a new reality, some, if not most, do so with trepidation. Many will have to find a version of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, as available resources may not be sufficient to meet immediate needs.
Ongoing social-distancing obligations play a part in this, but so does that bugbear, one that defies all efforts to bring it under control — insurance costs. Indeed, earlier this year, the supreme court judge Mary Irvine, chair of the Judicial Council’s personal injuries guidelines committee, warned the minister responsible not to interfere with a review of personal injury payouts. Judge Irvine asserted she would not be influenced by the cost of compensation on businesses or community and volunteer groups.
However, this week’s €50,000 settlement award to a boy who, as a toddler, hurt his finger when it got caught in a gate, underlines the urgency in bringing forward proposals that are fair and reliable — a definition that cannot be applied to the status quo. The child, now aged 11, thankfully suffered no lasting damage or impediment. Nevertheless, the presiding judge said €50,000 was a good settlement.
Anyone injured because of the neglect of another must be protected, but that idea has been stretched beyond credibility by some claimants, the insurance sector, and, it seems, the legal system. Yet, we are all expected to happily pick up the tab.