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Christmas ice rinks in doubt due to insurance crisis, 'Limerick on Ice' operator says

An insurance crisis means Irish ice rink operators have been unable to find an insurer for the upcoming winter season.
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

20.04 19 Oct 2021


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Christmas ice rinks in doubt d...

Christmas ice rinks in doubt due to insurance crisis, 'Limerick on Ice' operator says

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

20.04 19 Oct 2021


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Ice rinks may not be able to operate in Ireland this Christmas due to a lack of insurers, the manager of a Limerick rink says.

After a year of restrictions, Fran O'Donnell from 'Limerick On Ice' had hoped to reopen the business for the usual winter season.

However, it's not restrictions that are currently putting that reopening in doubt.

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Speaking to Lunchtime Live, Fran said "it's not looking good" for either his business or other ice rinks operating across the country.

Christmas ice rinks in doubt due to insurance crisis, 'Limerick on Ice' operator says

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He explained: “It looks like there aren’t going to be any ice rinks in Ireland this year.

“What has happened is that the insurance companies, who are usually based out of London, have decided they have no appetite for the Irish leisure market.

"That doesn’t just mean ice rinks, but also jump parks, bouncy castles, water parks.”

Other operators in the sector have previously voiced similar concerns, with Irish bouncy castle operators saying they're also facing an 'insurance crisis'.

Fran said ice rink operators here would usually be looking at an insurance premium of around €10,000 to €25,000 for running a seasonal ice rink.

However, he says one colleague received a quote of nearly €300,000 for this year - meaning it would be around €50,000 a week for a typical five-six week opening season.

His own business - which has been operating for over 15 years - is profitable and "totally claim-free", and every year employs 45 people along with sub-contractors.

He hopes they will be able to operate again this year, and they're speaking to brokers as part of their efforts to get insured.

However, he said: “It doesn’t look good - and it’s not just us.

“I believe Leo Varadkar is aware of the situation, and he is trying to assist at the moment. But as they’re London-based companies, there’s very little we can do to force them into insuring.”

Main image: File photo. Picture by Brian North / Alamy Stock Photo

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