COUNCIL bosses have said that due to the ‘sensitive nature’ of information, they won’t be revealing how much money they have paid out in compensation claims.
At this week’s meeting, Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) raised a motion calling for a breakdown of all compensation claims, including the total value of these claims if they were paid out.
But Council chief executive Tim Lucey and head of finance Lorraine Lynch indicated they would be slow to release that information – even in the event of a Freedom of Information request from the media.
Two years ago, documents released under the Act revealed that both the city and county local authorties had paid out €15m for slips and falls since 2016.
Cork County Council paid out €129,626 in 2018, down from a high figure of €667,754 the previous year, and €782,035 in 2016.
Councillors this week were told that the total number of active claims up to the end of 2020 was 501, with the bulk of those (466) relating to public liability claims.
The top causes for claims in the fourth quarter of 2020 were 146 for slips and trips on footpaths, while there 120 claims for potholes, and 115 for ‘roads’ but there were no more specific details.
According to the figures, ‘flooding’ accounted for 15 active claims, while ‘others’ accounted for 44.
Cllr Carroll said that Kerry County Council revealed the payouts recently and that people were taken aback by the amounts paid out.
‘The figures [for Cork] don’t seem that high, but I have concerns that if all the claims came in together, would Cork County Council be able to handle it?’ asked Cllr Carroll.
Cllr Seamus McGrath, who seconded the motion said that 501 active claims is still a lot and noted that footpaths are coming out on top.
‘When we raise issues like trip hazards on footpaths I would ask that priority be given to repairing those which would reduce the claims overall,’ said Cllr McGrath.
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) said he knows a lot people who have damaged their cars and got no satisfaction from the Council’s insurers, IPB, when they submitted claims for damage.
Tim Lucey said that 120 potholes claims across 12,500 kms of roads should be ‘put into context’ and said they can’t say how they would respond to a Freedom of Information request because some of the data is ‘sensitive’.
‘There are a whole range of different claims and values and we could indicate figures, but it’s not appropriate to be disclosing this information,’ he said. Lorraine Lynch said they could handle all the claims if they came at once, and added they would be slow to release any information, even under Freedom of Information.