Tuesday, 2 November 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
I thank Deputy Cahill for highlighting this acute issue that has only come to our attention in the last number of weeks. On this exact point, I received an email just yesterday from one of the county farmers' hunts expressing their anger and frustration at what has happened in this area. In the email I received, they highlighted that the loss of Ireland's hunting community would have dire consequences for our sport horse industry and point-to-point racing and that the lifeblood of our racing industry would be immediately devastated. I understand the seriousness and that it is not just an issue of recreational activities. As part of the core industry it affects rural Ireland.
I will be meeting the Alliance for Insurance Reform this week. They have established a list of areas where there are particular problems. I want to go through these on a case-by-case basis in relation to the different industries, some of which we have touched on here today, including play centres and outdoor play areas, as well as rural pursuits. We will talk to brokers to see where they can work collectively as groups. Definitely, Deputy Cahill has mentioned what is now a pinch point. I also will meet Insurance Ireland and the insurance companies this month. I will ask each of them to see how it can help collectively in this area.
Reference was made to strengthening the waiver system. I agree completely with Deputy in this regard. This will tie into the duty of care. That system is in place in many places where a person will enter and sign a form to say that he or she is entering at his or her own risk and understands the situation. Unfortunately, in the past when the cases have gone to court the judges have taken a lenient approach and often sided with the person who had the injury, notwithstanding that the person had signed a form, because he or she said that there were some issues in the area they had not known about when they signed the form. The strengthening of a waiver and making it legally binding is definitely to be included in the forthcoming legislation from the Minister for Justice.