Dublin’s Oktoberfest cancelled due to insurance ‘claim culture’

Organisers criticise ‘small minority’ driving ‘unprecedented increases’ in premium

Barmaids Greta Brodersen and Julika Busch at Dublin’s Oktoberfest in 2017. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Barmaids Greta Brodersen and Julika Busch at Dublin’s Oktoberfest in 2017. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

The popular Oktoberfest festival that has taken place in Dublin’s docklands for the past 10 years has been cancelled this year due to “unprecedented increases” in the event’s insurance premium, organisers have said.

More than 120,000 people visited the three-week event last year. It involves a marquee similar to that of the Bavarian Oktoberfest, which is held in Munich each year. The German festival has been running for more than 200 years and attracts six million people each year.

The Dublin-based Oktoberfest on George’s Dock last year involved Bavarian beer, music and dancing. German speciality food producers, traders and dozens of Munich barmaids travelled to Dublin to take part in the event.

However, the event’s organisers said on Wednesday that this year’s event would not go ahead due to the “claim culture” in the Republic. “It is with much disappointment that we make this announcement,” they said.

“Unfortunately this year’s event will not be going ahead. As much as we love coming to Dublin and doing our event with you guys, the 2019 event cannot go ahead due to unprecedented increases in our insurance premium.

“In Germany we are not used to the claim culture that has developed in Ireland and therefore we have decided to take a break this year.

“The belief that putting in an insurance claim doesn’t hurt anyone except the insurance company is incorrect.

“Consequently, great fun events like ours find it hard to go ahead when suspect insurance claims from a small minority of people can ruin it for everybody.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our loyal patrons and Irish partners that have helped us with the event over the years and ask you to look forward to Oktoberfest 2020.”

Flea closure

The cancellation of the event comes less than a week after the Dublin Flea Christmas Market announced it was to cease operations after losing its booking with the Point Square Shopping Centre.

The market was extended last year to take place over two long weekends in December and more than doubled its visitor numbers.

It hosted 300 traders and 73,000 visitors, who spent more than €3.5 million. Those figures were up from 35,000 visitors and a spend of €1.75 million in 2017.

Sharon Greene, who runs the market, said she had come to the realisation that Dublin was not equipped with the infrastructure to host events of the type and scale of the flea market.

“Sadly we have come to the heavy realisation that there is insufficient infrastructure and support for an event of this type and scale in Dublin,” she said.

“We worry that Dublin is steadily becoming more and more a commercial, corporate and tourist city with no space for grass-root culture or creativity.

“We have said it before and we say it again: the lack of event spaces, creative hubs, artist studios, design workshops, late-night venues, clubs and affordable independent retail spaces means there is little space left for experimentation, innovation and creative expression.

“These types of unstructured gathering spaces are where the seeds of contemporary culture are sown.

“They are vital if we want Dublin to have a unique cultural identity that will set it apart as a great city to visit, live and do business in. Without them we are on a slippery slope to becoming a homogenous and bland capital city.”