A legal loophole in Irish insurance laws has led to police along the country's Atlantic coast being forced to arrest hundreds of waves for damaging seafront property during last month's heavy storms.
Under the island's archaic insurance laws, which were drawn up in 1933 in accordance with the strict Catholic doctrines of the time, insurance cannot be paid out for damage caused to property by storms, as natural disasters were deemed to be the work of God and so not liable to the law of the land. As such, despite numerous campaigns to have the law updated, insurance can only be paid out in circumstances where any damage to property has been caused by "an identifiable individual or individuals who have been arrested for the offence of Criminal Damage".
However, due to the unprecedented scale of the damage caused by the recent storms, emergency talks between the Irish government and major insurance companies have resulted in an agreement that waves may be classified as "individuals" for the purposes of insurance claims arising out of damage caused in January and February 2014.
Although this is welcome news for the many Irish householders whose property has been battered by the recent storms, it has not been popular with the Irish police force, with hundreds of them forced to line the country's Atlantic shores naming, arresting and then questioning waves in order to comply with the country's strict police investigation procedures to ensure that valid insurance claims can be made. In an effort to maintain discipline, four officers in Galway have already been suspended for "mocking" the situation by staging an ID parade consisting of videos of a Mexican wave, a waving hand, a radio wave and a sea wave and asking a householder if he could identify the wave which damaged his property.
"It is vital that this procedure is carried out properly and effectively," said the Irish Justice Minister. "Otherwise, we could end up being a complete laughing stock."