Thatched cottages – insurance crisis

Sir, – After months of searching, I have discovered that it is now impossible to insure my thatched cottage here in Ireland. In recent years the cost of doing this has increased year on year, while the stipulations for gaining insurance have become more and more onerous. The costs associated with maintaining these heritage buildings is not unsubstantial, with a new thatch (required every ten to 15 years) costing between €20,000 and €30,000. Is it any wonder the numbers of these buildings have declined in the last decade?

Today less than 3,000 thatched buildings remain in Ireland. Without an insurance provider left in the market, more and more of our thatched heritage will continue to disappear. Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien is on record as saying our “built heritage is the signature that each generation has left on our communities”. Previously Minister of State James Browne for Law Reform had said insurance cover for these buildings is ultimately a commercial matter for insurance companies. Now that no insurance providers remain, will the State intervene to provide support to insure our Irish heritage or is this the beginning of the end for the thatched heritage of Ireland? – Is mise,

RORY STEWART,

Ardara,

Co Donegal.

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