Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath has expressed deep frustration at the lack of progress in establishing a dedicated unit within An Garda Síochána to tackle insurance fraud.

Commenting, Deputy McGrath said that “Ireland is often seen as a soft touch when it comes to insurance fraud and it is frustrating to say the least that the Government does not take a tougher stance on the issue.

“The impact of insurance fraud cannot be underestimated and is certainly not a victimless crime. It is infuriating for the individuals or businesses caught on the wrong end of insurance fraud who often face premium hikes as a result. Across the insurance market, fraud is cited as among the main reasons why insurance premiums are so high.

“The Garda Fraud Unit was first touted in the report on motor insurance published by the Government’s Cost of Insurance Working Group in January 2017. Yet here we are approaching the end of 2018 and no progress has been made. Insurance fraud can be very difficult and time consuming to investigate and to prosecute. A dedicated Garda unit is needed to take on this task.

“A dedicated unit would bring focus and experience to the issue and I am sure that with a few high profile prosecutions Ireland would very quickly lose its reputation for being a soft touch. Fianna Fáil is serious about dealing with high insurance premiums and insurance fraud. We currently have two Bills on insurance one of which would enable a Judge to pass information to the Director of Public Prosecution where a fraudulent claim has been made.

“If the Government is really serious about insurance reform, it would get this unit up and running,” concluded McGrath.