NOT that we needed yet more evidence of Ireland’s sad compo culture claiming yet another victim – this time the loss of a family-run riding school in business for the last half century (see adjoining story).
Turn on the radio or television of recent years and you can almost trip over yourself on the amount of media coverage of all types of businesses forced to shut up shop – swimming pools, sports clubs, riding schools, adventure centres – virtually anything with any type of risk associated with it.
If it isn’t the high cost of insurance or no insurance cover at all putting these businesses out of action, it’s the dreaded fear in the pit of their stomachs, day in day out, that they are walking a legal high wire tightrope that could snap under them at any moment.
They are all just one claim – real or spurious – from being out of business. They may have done absolutely everything right but still end up with that dreaded claims letter coming through their letterbox. They are currently having a lot of sleepless nights worrying about what might be around the proverbial corner.
There simply has to be a better way for our country to address the whole area of ‘risk’ versus personal responsibility.
Take a look at some USA states whereby people who voluntarily engage in risk-related activities – like horse riding among many others – cannot actually sue if they come a cropper. They are knowingly taking a risk. They have their own insurance in place to cover them in the event of an unfortunate accident. Nobody else is responsible but themselves. End of story. Would that the world was so black and white on this side of the Atlantic!
Check out noted breeder, huntsman, horseman and commentator Chris Ryan’s comments on this issue to Susan Finnerty on pages 104-105.
It’s high time our politicans really beefed up the law here and made it fit for purpose in this hugely contentious area. They need to put the personal onus squarely back where it belongs – there is thousands of jobs at stake and whole sectors – like our own beloved equine sector – are counting on them.