Insurance costs could banish St Patrick’s Day parades

IT’S celebration time, but the party piece, the age old St Patrick’s Day parade, is in danger.

All parades could soon become a thing of the past, as insurance costs spiral and underwriters get tough.

Three parades planned for Monday have been cancelled because of sky-high insurance costs.

Hundreds of other towns and

villages have cut back on their

celebrations.

Organisers fear that dozens more parades will be cancelled next year.

Ennis, Co Clare, has been the biggest St Patrick’s Day casualty this year.

The parades planned for Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick, and

Buttevant, Co Cork, have also been abandoned.

The town council in Ennis said it was advised that groups participating in the event will not be covered.

“This issue has presented a problem in several towns and cities this year. The minimum recommended limit is 6.4m, in addition to the normal motor insurance requirement for

motorised floats,” a council spokesperson said.

Mayor of Ennis Peter Considine said the town was still trying to come to terms with the cancellation of the parade.

“It is extremely disappointing,

because we believed that this was

going to be the best St Patrick’s

parade ever in Ennis.”

A veteran participant in the parade is Ennis Brass Band leader Bernard McAllister.

“We are terribly disappointed that the parade has been cancelled. It is a blow to the local community. What is the point in having a national holiday, if local communities cannot celebrate it?” he said.

Prospects for the Ennis St Patrick’s Day parade making a return next year look gloomy, locals believe.

In Abbeyfeale, local councillor Sean Broderick said a 10-year tradition had been broken.

“We felt unable to provide accurate information and didn’t want to take any chances. Others may not even

realise they are wide open, should something go wrong,” he said.

The parade in Buttevant has been cancelled for the first time in 40 years, after insurance costs soared by

600%.

The chairman of the town’s community council said there wasn’t enough money to insure the pageant.

“We just couldn’t justify the costs,” Tom Corronn said.

The Irish Insurance Federation

believes its members have to get tough, because they have been losing money on parades.

Spokesman Martin Long said even a small personal-injury claim was

costly.

“Liability insurance cover has caused companies to haemorrhage losses for years now. In 2000, companies lost £30m. In 2001, that grew to 75m.

“The sooner the Government acts on personal-injury assessment, the better for everyone,” Mr Long said.

A recent independent report on the insurance industry showed that, for

every 100 awarded, a further 56 is clocked up in legal costs.

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