THERE were over 500 active claims against Cork County Council at the end of last year, with the top cause being footpaths and slips or trips.
That is according to the most recent data available from the council’s insurers IPB, dated for the fourth quarter of 2020.
According to the figures, there were 146 active claims in relation to footpaths and slips or trips.
In the same period, there were 120 active claims in relation to potholes, 115 for roads, 15 regarding floods, and 44 titled ‘other’.
The figures were presented at yesterday’s council meeting, following a motion by Fianna Fáil councillor Joe Carroll.
He called on the council to provide members with a breakdown of all compensation claims being taken against the council.
On December 31, 2020, the number of active claims stood at 501, the bulk of which related to public liability, with 466 claims.
All open claims in the quarter are included in the figure. Council staff said they were not in a position to disclose the estimated value as it is sensitive information.
Fianna Fáil councillor Seamus McGrath, who seconded the motion, said that 500-plus active claims “is a lot of claims”.
Mr McGrath asked that, when issues are raised, priority be given to repairing trip hazards.
“I know it’s not an easy task, but anything that can reduce the number of claims in terms of a quick response from us to repair, identify the trip hazards I think, would be important.”
Fianna Fáil councillor Gearóid Murphy said the figures show “that greater funding for footpaths would go a long way”.
He said that, while not all of the claims will result in money being paid out, “you’re still losing because we still have to pay our lawyers and there’s a huge amount of resources that gets tied up in the council defending claims or litigating claims in any way.
“Prevention is better than cure,” he added.
Council chief executive Tim Lucey said they were consistently working on risk assessment.
“Obviously funding is an important one, but we’ve consistently directed our funding on footpath repairs to areas where we believe propose the most risk over the last number of years.”