The claims mostly relate to trips, falls and other minor accidents in public spaces and City Hall has set aside €5m in its budget to cover the costs.
Former Lord Mayor Terry Shannon has called for emergency funds from Government, saying the high volume of claims is down to a lack of investment in footpaths and streetscapes.
He said: “Some may be spurious but some of them are probably quite serious. Clearly, the fact that the public realm is in such disrepair does lead to these claims. If someone falls and breaks a leg or a limb, they are entitled to a claim. My understanding is that we have put €5m aside in the budget just to pay for those claims but if we had that €5m to invest in our roads and our footpaths, clearly, you might find things going the other way. I recognise and support that, for the most part, Cork City Council will defend all those claims.”
Cllr Shannon has suggested there could be a ‘compo culture’ in some sections of society.
“Cork is above the national average in personal claims. We are ahead of Dublin and every other part of this country, which is quite extraordinary. I’m calling on the Minister to give emergency funding to Cork City Council to enable us to upgrade the public realm. It’s a very serious crisis facing the city. We cannot sustain 660 cases against us because the Government is failing to invest in our streets, estates and parks around the city,” he added.
City Hall paid out more than €33m in compensation claims between 2000 and 2016 — more than €2 million per year.
The number of claims against the Council spiked in March last year, with over 40 being lodged in that month alone.