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Activity centres warn that Covid 'just masked the insurance crisis'

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Many activity centres are struggling to get insurance

Many activity centres are struggling to get insurance

Many activity centres are struggling to get insurance

Concerns are being raised about the future of activity centres after a number of popular attractions announced they will not be reopening because of insurance costs.

As the country looks to unlock, there are fears thousands of jobs could be affected by the crisis.

Alliance for Insurance Reform director Peter Boland said the Covid-19 pandemic "temporarily camouflaged" the insurance crisis.

However, there are now serious concerns over the viability of businesses in the leisure industry.

Bricí Spraoi, a play space which provides activities for young children in Co Galway, announced yesterday it will not be reopening as it could not get an insurance quote.

"After months of searching we are unable to get insurance, despite having no claims," the company said in a statement.

"The imagination playground is made from foam and antimicrobial and it was somewhere that was enjoyed by thousands of kids.

"Nowadays play and kids means no insurance."

Earlier this week, the Aqua Dome leisure centre in Tralee, Co Kerry, confirmed it would not be reopening until next year.

They took the decision due to fears that a Covid-19 personal injury claim could force the business to close down for good.

Chairman Denis Reen revealed the company's insurance premium is a staggering €90,000-a-year.

Close to 40 jobs have been affected by the decision.

The Herald previously revealed how a project for at-risk youths in Dublin city centre is also facing closure due to insurance costs.

Willie Whelan, director of the Adventure Project on the North Strand, which runs outdoor activities for recovering addicts, was unable to get a quote after a youth worker made an injury claim.

Unaffordable

Mr Whelan said a UK underwriter has since offered to cover the project for €25,000-a-year, which he added is "completely unaffordable" for a not-for-profit organisation.

"Our premium was only just over €3,000 last year," Mr Whelan said.

"The excess is €15,000 if another claim were to happen."

Blueway Waterpark, in Co Leitrim, also closed suddenly after its insurance premium increased by €15,000 to €25,000-a-year.

Mr Boland said ministers must take urgent action, adding: "If the Government is expecting the economy to recover through SMEs, that is definitely not going to happen thanks to insurance costs."