Schools ‘ban pupils from run­ning’ af­ter in­sur­ance bill soars

Irish Independent - - News - Philip Ryan

CHIL­DREN are banned from run­ning and kick­ing foot­balls in school­yards be­cause of soar­ing in­sur­ance costs, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Dublin Fin­gal TD Alan Far­rell said it was “ob­scene” and “mad­ness” that chil­dren’s ex­er­cise was be­ing re­stricted in this way in some schools.

Mr Far­rell, who is chair of the Oireach­tas Chil­dren’s Com­mit­tee, said ris­ing in­sur­ance costs faced by schools needed to be ur­gently ad­dressed to en­sure chil­dren could ex­er­cise.

Speak­ing on In­de­pen­dent. ie’s ‘Float­ing Voter’ pod­cast, Mr Far­rell said: “They will not al­low the chil­dren to run or kick a ball above waist height ... be­cause you might hit a kid in the head, scratch their head and the par­ent will sue.

“You can’t stop a child from ex­er­cis­ing and I just think it’s wrong.”

Mr Far­rell said he had dis­cussed the is­sue with Min­is­ter of State in the Depart­ment of Fi­nance Michael D’Arcy, who is ex­am­in­ing in­sur­ance costs across a num­ber of sec­tors.

It is un­der­stood Mr D’Arcy has been told by the in­sur­ance in­dus­try that poli­cies do not pro­hibit chil­dren from run­ning or play­ing foot­ball as along as they are su­per­vised by a teacher.

A Gov­ern­ment source said the key is­sue fac­ing schools was teach­ers who refuse to su­per­vise chil­dren dur­ing break pe­ri­ods.

Sep­a­rately, Mr Far­rell said he wanted vend­ing ma­chines filled with choco­late bars and fizzy drinks banned from schools as part of the Gov­ern­ment’s strat­egy to tackle child­hood obe­sity.

“Vend­ing ma­chines in schools is just wrong un­less it’s healthy eat­ing, wa­ter and fruit, but the kids won’t eat that,” he said.

Mr Far­rell said he hoped his com­mit­tee would rec­om­mend this ac­tion when it pub­lished its re­port on child­hood obe­sity later this year.

Mean­while, GAA com­mu­nity and health man­ager Colin Regan warned pushy par­ents and over-com­pet­i­tive coaches were putting chil­dren off sport.

At a Chil­dren’s Com­mit­tee meet­ing, Mr Regan said the GAA’s Re­spect ini­tia­tive set out guide­lines for ac­cept­able side­line be­hav­iour for par­ents and coaches.

How­ever, he added: “It has not had the im­pact that we would have hoped for at this stage.”

TD Alan Far­rell called the school­yard bans ‘ob­scene’

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