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Dublin adventure centre forced to remove some equipment over 'enormous' insurance hike

Fort Lucan’s general manager said that the company’s insurance premium has doubled since 2015.

The trampolines being removed from Fort Lucan's grounds
The trampolines being removed from Fort Lucan's grounds
Image: Fort Lucan via Facebook

AN OUTDOOR ADVENTURE centre has been forced to remove some of its equipment as a result of hikes in insurance costs. 

Fort Lucan, an adventure playground which has been open in Dublin for the past 25 years, has mazes, trampolines, a waterslide and mini golf, among other attractions, for children.

In a statement on Facebook, the company announced yesterday that it has been left with no choice but to permanently remove its “famous and much-loved” in-ground trampolines due to insurance costs. 

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Fort Lucan general manager Gillian Martin Smith said that the company’s insurance premium has doubled since 2015. 

“Our insurance has doubled since 2015, so that’s enormous,” she said.

When the company went to renew its insurance cover last year, she said, the insurers requested another €25,000 to insure the two trampolines at Fort Lucan. 

The company subsequently made the decision to close the trampolines last summer, but has now made the decision to remove them entirely. 

“We were going to try and fight it to get them insured under the normal premium but the way insurance has gone in this country there’s no point. We going to replace them with something bigger, better and fantastic next year,” Martin Smith said. 

Martin Smith emphasised that Fort Lucan never opened without the trampolines being fully supervised. She said no adults were permitted on them, only one child at a time was allowed and no somersaults or dangerous bouncing was permitted. 

The hike in insurance, which has led to the trampolines being removed, “means every single day is just so stressful”, Martin Smith said. 

She noted that there has been no claims made on its insurance regarding the trampolines in recent years.

image1 (1) Fort Lucan adventure centre in Dublin Source: Fort Lucan

Future hikes

If Fort Lucan’s insurance premium increases again, it will be headed into six figures, according to Martin Smith. 

“There’s not many small businesses in Ireland that can cope with that level of increase,” Martin Smith said. 

“We have between 70 and 90 part-time staff during the summer, every year. There are five full-time people employed in the place,” she said, adding that all those jobs would be lost if Fort Lucan was forced to close. 

She went on to criticised the government for “not supporting businesses” who provide play centres for children. 

“You see kids coming into the fort and you never, ever see a child in Fort Lucan picking up an iPhone or a screen. They are playing from the minute they arrive to the minute they leave and if they have to have lunch, they’ll sit down, eat their lunch with their parents and they’re gone again,” she said. 

Insurance in Ireland

Over the past number of months, a number of adventure centres and play centres have faced closure in Ireland due to hikes in insurance costs. 

“Clearly insurance in Ireland is broken, it’s not working. Places are closing,” Martin Smith said. 

Earlier this monthTheJournal.ie reported that Boyne Valley Activities, an adventure firm in Meath, is facing closure due to insurance costs. 

The company, which runs activities such as kayaking, rope courses and archery, revealed that it had to temporarily cease operations on 1 May as management decided what to do about a “ridiculous” hike in insurance.

In a statement, the company’s management said it has never made a claim on its insurance policy.

“Through no fault of our own we have been a victim of ridiculous insurance hikes that are crippling small businesses in this country.”

Meanwhile, Bike Park Ireland in Tipperary also announced earlier this month that it had to close temporarily until it has a new policy in place. The company said it was “the latest victim of the ridiculous insurance crisis”. 

The cost of insurance is also taking its toll on festivals in Ireland, putting many at risk of being cancelled this summer. 

Industry members and festival organisers warned earlier this month that up to 200 festivals might not go ahead this year after a renowned festival in Mayo said it seen an 80% rise in their insurance and could not proceed with this year’s event. 

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