Tag Archives: risk

Elfin safety

Messrs Build.ie draw my attention to the formation of an Irish branch of the Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group, with members including the State Claims Agency, the OPW, Coillte, Waterways Ireland and the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. The matter was mentioned in a Dáil written answer on 16 July 2013 and there is a ministerial statement on the formation here including this:

[…] it is essential that these visitors have safe access to our valuable assets […].

There is a list of VSCG members here. It will be nice for the Irish members to be able to converse with those from Manx National Heritage without having to use English, but the Waterways Ireland delegates will no doubt be disappointed that the Scottish bodies don’t seem to give much attention to the Scots language.

One of the VSCG case-studies is about Gas Street Basin in Birmingham; Waterways Ireland may be thinking about its applicability to the Grand Canal docks in Ringsend.

The involvement of the State Claims Agency suggests that the concern for visitors’ safety is not entirely altruistic: that the members may wish to keep down the costs of legal claims against them. Nothing wrong with that: it is in the interests of the citizenry that costs be kept down; that means managing risks and protecting against vexatious claims. If that isn’t done, there is a danger that public access to these bodies’ estates might be restricted.



Yesterday’s Sunday Business Post had an article headed “Liberty Mutual move to push up business insurance costs” [paywall, alas, but the Irish Times mentions it briefly here. Messrs Liberty don’t seem to say anything about it on tinterweb, but perhaps you may wish to spend longer searching than I did].

Liberty took over a commercial insurance business from Quinn; it feels that “Quinn’s commercial business is unsustainable and under-priced” [SBP].  Accordingly, it is raising prices for many types of business and requiring a minimum premium of €1000 for all commercial policies and a minimum of €5000 in “high hazard trades”.

Furthermore, it is withdrawing altogether from 37 lines of business including:

  • abattoirs
  • children’s activity centres
  • civil engineers
  • contract cleaners
  • fishing trawlers
  • go-karting and quad biking businesses
  • manufacture of paint, varnish and polishes
  • nightclubs
  • public swimming pools
  • riding schools
  • roofing contractors
  • sawmills
  • waste disposal and recycling
  • window cleaning.

This is not of immediate relevance to Irish waterways, at least as far as I can see, although children’s activity centres might include some waterways-based centres. Furthermore, the SBP’s list is not exhaustive and there is the possibility that reductions in competition and higher insurance costs will spread to the waterways (if they haven’t already). Making it more difficult for small new businesses to start up, or existing businesses to survive, won’t benefit the waterways.

Is there a case for tort reform in Ireland?


attempt to assess and either eliminate or insure against all risks


Dry docks

Waterways Ireland has a new web page up about the conditions under which it will allow its dry docks to be used. The page includes links to a downloadable MS Word application form and a PDF. Anyone applying to use a dry dock must now submit:

  • a completed application form
  • a letter from an insurance company confirming that the owner has adequate insurance in place [sic] to bring vessel into a dry dock for works
  • a letter from the insurance company of any third party contractors to be employed confirming they have adequate insurance in place [sic] to carry out the proposed works
  • the relevant payment for number of days usage booked
  • a security deposit payment of €250
  • a shoring/propping certificate
  • a method statement of work to be carried out
  • a safety statement for work to be carried out.

In April 2012 I discussed the issues here.

My page about dry docks is here.


Here are some thoughts on risk management for waterways authorities, marine insurers and boat-owners.