Cork’s €33m compensation bill

Cork’s €33m compensation bill
City Hall, Cork. Pic: Larry Cummins

CORK City Council has paid out more than €33 million in compensation claims since the year 2000.

Data issued to the Evening Echo under a Freedom of Information request shows that the local authority is paying more than €2 million per year to people who have been injured in the city.

The city has also incurred almost €8.5 million in legal costs associated with compensation cases over the same period, which has been described as a ‘huge drain’ on the council’s resources. In all, €33,006,866 has been paid out in compensation and public liability claims between 2000 and 2016.

This includes a peak of €3,024,902 in 2015, with claims surpassing €1.5 million in each of the last 10 years. Injuries range from minor cuts and bruises to broken bones and hip replacements, according to the information supplied by Cork City Council.

The cash-strapped local authority is now spending more on compensation claims each year than it is on road works and resurfacing footpaths, according to former Lord Mayor, Councillor Terry Shannon, who said the city’s ‘crumbling’ public realm has led to the current situation, adding that the local authority simply doesn’t have the money to fix ongoing issues.

"We are spending more on compensation claims than we are on footpath renewal and road resurfacing. It is absolute madness," he said.

"But what can you do? We don't have the funds to fix these issues. The public realm is crumbling in places."

Cork City Council is set to receive some €1.5 million in an insurance rebate from the IPB in the coming years, with the money due to be ring-fenced for essential roads and footpath works.

However, Mr Shannon said is concerned that this money still won't be enough to resolve the issues in the city centre.

"We have dozens of legacy issues that need to be resolved," he said.

"Broken footpaths, cracked roads; they have become compensation claim hot spots because no work has been done on them in years.

"The funding hasn't been there to tackle these issues and they have now resulted in us spending money that should be used for roadworks on compensation instead."

Mr Shannon called on the government to issue grants to local authorities to solve these issues and complete long-outstanding work.

"There is an expectation from the public - and they are right, too - that because they are paying LPT that these works will be done," he said.

"We have a tiny allocation for resurfacing and renewal, it is unsustainable. What we need is a single grant - several million - to be spent on eradicating years of built up issues. Otherwise, this will continue as it is."

More in this section

Sponsored Content