Fianna Fáil’s Business Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher has said that rising insurance costs for businesses is having a devastating impact on the competitiveness and profitability of SMEs in this country.

“Let’s be upfront here – Ireland is sliding down the competitiveness rankings, and the Government neither have the understanding nor the will to do anything about it.

“Day in day out, business owners and leaders are crying out for action from the Government on the issue of rising business costs, rising motor insurance costs, and rising public liability costs.

“Premiums continue to rise unabated. The net result of such increases is downward pressure on the competitiveness of Irish business, and will start to put pressure on job numbers if left unchecked.

“Measures that should have been implemented long ago have been put on the long finger the Government.

“The establishment of a National Claims Information Database was recommended by the Government’s own Working Group on the Cost of Insurance. The legislation to establish the database should have been enacted by the end of 2017 but is now unlikely to be in place until the second half of 2018.

“In particular, businesses involved in haulage such as farmers or exporters are feeling the pinch as motor insurance premiums continue to rise. These two sectors are very exposed as a result of Brexit already and any increase in their cost base will severely damage their competitiveness and profitability.

“Minister Humphreys needs to put pressure on Ministers Donohoe and D’Arcy to speed up the reforms needed to stem the rising premiums that are risking Irish jobs,” concluded Kelleher.