TINRYLAND Park reopened its gates last Thursday ‒ a huge relief to the local community, who feared crippling insurance costs would threaten its very future.
The directors of the popular park were forced to temporarily close the facility over Christmas when faced with a staggering insurance bill of €8,300, up from €2,500 the previous year. The insurance company stated that the increase was due to an impending compensation claim.
Following much negotiation, another company has agreed to insure the park for 2019 for €4,500.
“It’s fantastic to be able to reopen,” said cllr Jim Deane, one of Tinryland Park’s voluntary directors. “We’re absolutely delighted, because it’s all down to the hard work and generosity of local people that we have the park there in the first place,” he said.
“The good wishes and support from people over the past few weeks has been fantastic,” added cllr Deane.
He paid tribute to McHugh O’Leary Insurances, which “did the decent thing” and offered to insure Tinryland Park when many others refused or offered exorbitant quotes that simply couldn’t be met.
“Other insurance companies actually told us to resign as directors and close the park, but John McHugh was very decent and we are extremely grateful to him for all the hard work. It’s still €2,000 more than we were paying, but at least it’s a figure that is achievable, a figure that we can meet with some fundraising,” said cllr Deane.
“It was all very worrying and was a big burden on us four directors. We have done absolutely everything right in Tinryland Park; we were 100% covered and kept the place right as volunteers, but then this happened … that’s the frightening part of all this.”
Tinryland Park opened in 2012 after years of planning. In an incredible six weeks, a fantastic €65,000 was raised locally which, when bolstered by LEADER funding, fulfilled a dream of turning a disused tennis court and pitch and putt course into a fantastic playground, astro turf pitch and park. Securing grants and funding on an annual basis has seen Tinryland Park further enhanced over the years to the tune of €250,000, with expansion plans to include a zip line and other equipment in 2019.
The case of Tinryland Park’s temporary closure has sparked national debate on the issue of insurance costs.
ISME, the association for small and medium-sized businesses, expressed great disappointment at the temporary closure of Tinryland Park due to an impending compensation claim. “The case of Tinryland Park in Carlow shows that our personal injuries system is broken and in need of radical and immediate overhaul,” stated ISME chief executive Neil McDonnell. “The reform process has stalled in the face of aggressive lobbying by the legal sector. We need a legislative cap on general damages to be introduced immediately.”