A Fianna Fáil private members’ motion to be debated in the Dáil today
will put the spotlight on the developing crisis facing businesses, sporting
clubs and community organisations across the country as a result of the cost of
employer and public liability insurance, according to the party’s Spokesperson on
Finance Michael McGrath TD.

Deputy McGrath commented, “While there continues to be serious issues in the
motor insurance market, today’s motion focuses on employer and public liability
insurance. Businesses with a significant public footfall such as play centres,
pubs and nightclubs, hotels and leisure centres, are facing an insurance
crisis, and there seems to be little practical action by government to do
anything about it.

“To give just one example, a children’s play centre I am familiar with had an
insurance bill of €3,500 in early 2016. This increased to €5,500 in 2017 and to
just under €10,000 in early 2018. The renewal quote for the next twelve months
is almost €18,500. This play centre has had no claims since it opened a decade
ago. It is now facing closure with the loss of jobs and a valuable local
amenity.

“It is now nine months since the completion of the final report of the Personal
Injuries Commission (PIC). The PIC confirmed that the level of damages for
soft-tissue (whiplash) injuries in Ireland runs at a multiple of 4.4 times to
that of our nearest neighbours England and Wales. There has been no movement on
its central recommendation – the establishment of a Judicial Council which
would compile guidelines for appropriate general damages for various types of
personal injury. This has not happened nor is there any sign of it happening.

“Similarly, we are over two years on from the recommendation to establish a
dedicated insurance fraud unit within An Garda Síochána and again there has
been no movement on this. Fraudulent and exaggerated claims are a significant
problem in my view and this problem needs to be tackled. Further, we still do
not have any official data on the cost of employer and public liability
insurance.

“The government needs to understand that failure to tackle the insurance crisis
facing certain sectors is costing jobs. Fianna Fáil has offered full
parliamentary support to the government to tackle high insurance costs. It is well
past time they started to deliver in a meaningful way.”