Festivals, marts, creches closing due to rising insurance, Dáil told

Government wants to to deliver same cost reduction for business as in motor insurance, Coveney says

‘Ireland is an outlier’ in personal injury awards compared to other countries, Dara Calleary said. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

‘Ireland is an outlier’ in personal injury awards compared to other countries, Dara Calleary said. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

 

Nightclubs, marts, childcare facilities and businesses across the country are closing down because of the massive increases in public liability and business insurance, the Dáil has heard.

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary said that in the case of one childcare facility insurance had risen from €2,000 in 2012 to €16,000 last year and this year the owner cannot get a quote, putting 12 jobs and a seven-year-old business at risk.

“Ireland is an outlier” in personal injury awards compared to other countries, he said.

Sharply criticising the Government, he said Minister of State Michael D’Arcy, who has responsibility for the area, acknowledged in a recent radio interview “that the level of claims is the problem”.

“This has been known for 19/20 months but it is only yesterday that the Minister for Justice wrote to the Chief Justice and asked him to do something about it.”

He said that 75 community festivals have shut down because of increased insurance costs and meanwhile “nothing is happening”.

Mr Calleary said legislation was not being pursued on the issue and he called for the Government to publish a new book of quantum, general guidelines on the amounts that can be awarded in personal injury claims.

“That might bring some discipline and order to personal injury awards that are four times higher here than in the UK,” the Mayo TD said.

The Mayo TD said there had been reductions in motor insurance costs because it was trackable but “meanwhile the Government once again has its head in the sand”.

“For once can you stand up for small business against the might of the insurance industry?”

Rejecting his comments, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said two years ago they would have been talking about motor insurance costs.

But the Government’s work meant motor insurance costs had been cut by 22 per cent.

Mr Coveney said he was well aware of the difficulties facing businesses.The working group chaired by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe was working through the recommendations of ongoing reports.

He insisted the Government “is determined to deliver the kind of results for small businesses that we have delivered for motor insurance”.