A 280,000 euro playground and park in West Clare remains closed, six months after works there were completed, because those behind it haven’t been able to secure insurance cover.
Clare County Council has heard that the issues in Kilmihil’s new People’s Park are not unique to there, and that construction of new playground has been halted because insurers are not offering cover.
The Council has been called on to step into the breach, but has expressed concern about the financial impact of such a move.
Work began on Kilmihil People’s Park two years ago, and since then, over 280,000 euro in public, private and community funds has been invested in the amenity.
Works were completed in March, but it remains closed, as those behind the project have been unable to secure a quote for insurance cover.
This is due to a changing landscape in the insurance market during that time, which has impacted other community playgrounds in Clare and further afield.
John Carmody, who’s involved in the Kilmihil People’s Park project, says it’s not fair that local communities are losing out on the use of valuable amenities over the issue.
Monday’s Council meeting heard that more parks are impacted, as the issue was raised by Councillors Cillian Murphy, Joe Garrihy and Ian Lynch.
Some which are due to be built have been put on pause, because they too can’t get cover, and there was concern that in playgrounds where insurance cover may lapse, they won’t be able to re-open.
The Council has now been called on to intervene and to use the Irish Public Bodies insurance, which covers public bodies, with communities still covering the costs.
While Council CEO Pat Dowling expressed a willingness to address the matter, the Council did express concern about costs, and stated that the matter is for the insurance market to resolve.
But Kilkee Councillor Cillian Murphy believes the Council has the capacity to step in, saying this is already happening elsewhere.