South Dublin County Council has spent nearly €1m in a four-year period for claims paid out to people injuring themselves on public footpaths.
The council paid a total of €902,772.91 to 55 people who injured themselves on footpaths and made claims during the years 2009-12.
The year 2009 was when the biggest sums were paid out, with 19 people from South County Dublin making claims, totalling €301,600.
In 2010, four people made claims, bringing in the lowest figure in the four-year period – €119,000.
While in 2011, 17 people were compensated by the council, amounting to €205,621.
Then in 2012, 15 made claims for injuries on public footpaths, which totalled €276,551.91.
The council spent €3,859,000 on maintaining footpaths throughout that timeframe.
A council roads department spokesperson told the Gazette that roughly €1m is spent each year on footpath refurbishment and repair.
He said: “It’s roughly the same figures every year – we’re talking between €900,000 and €1m year on year.”
“We have our own direct labour crews [working on the refurbishment and repair of public footpaths] and then we also have contractors to do some of the bigger schemes.”
Lucan’s Cllr Eamon Tuffy (Lab) believes the comparison between the amount being spent on accidents and footpath refurbishment and the cost paid out on public liability figures for injuries on footpaths are of particular interest.
He said: “What it seems to me is that nearly €1m is being spent on claims and in the same period over €1.5m is paid on repairs.
“It seems that it would be worth spending a bit more on repairs if it could reduce the claims, and at the same time it seems the basis of the figures being spent is of a particular interest.”
Commenting on these figures, Sinn Fein councillor Eoin O Broin told the Gazette that: “The central problem here is that central Government have cut local government funding dramatically over the last six years.
“As a result, council budgets for road maintenance, repair and upgrading is totally inadequate.”