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School forced to cancel trips to Holland secures full refund from Dublin travel firm

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Client: solicitor Peter Bowles said the school had reached a settlement

Client: solicitor Peter Bowles said the school had reached a settlement

Client: solicitor Peter Bowles said the school had reached a settlement

A Belfast school forced to cancel trips to Holland because of the Covid-19 crisis has settled a legal bid to secure refunds from the tour operator.

Strandtown Primary School in the east of the city had paid nearly £45,000 towards the costs of taking 149 pupils to Amsterdam.

Proceedings were issued against Dublin-based travel firm Topflight, seeking a declaration that there should be full reimbursement. The action was set to be heard at the High Court in Belfast next week.

However, a lawyer for the school revealed the case has now been resolved, with a full refund to be made.

Strandtown booked three package trips to Amsterdam which were due to take place in May and June this year.

A total of £44,700 was paid towards travel and accommodation costs arranged through Topflight. But in March the school cancelled the trips when the scale of the pandemic emerged.

Strandtown maintained that it was entitled to terminate its contract, citing the extraordinary circumstances, potential risk to children and government restrictions on foreign travel.

The action was initially defended on the grounds that the cancellation was made prematurely.

Solicitor Peter Bowles, who represents Strandtown, confirmed the settlement reached.

He said: "My client is pleased to have resolved these proceedings successfully and ensure that each of the 149 children affected who were due to travel to Amsterdam will receive the money that they had paid to Topflight refunded in its entirety."

Expressing disappointment at having to take the legal action, Mr Bowles also recognised the difficulties the travel firm is facing because of coronavirus.

Belfast Telegraph