Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry has warned that rising insurance costs are crippling many existing businesses in the north west and proving to be a barrier to entry for new businesses.

Deputy Mac Sharry was speaking on his Party’s motion which puts a 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.

Deputy Mac Sharry commented, “Small and medium sized businesses have been the strength behind rural Ireland. In counties Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, and South Donegal we are reliant on local businesses in our communities. However, the lack of action from the government to stem the rising tide of insurance costs are seeing many businesses go under and this is preventing new businesses from starting up.

“For the last three years solutions have been proposed by Fianna Fáil yet little has been done by the government to implement them.

“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.

“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.

“There appears to be no political will from government to take substantial action on reducing insurance costs. The government needs to understand that failure to tackle the insurance crisis facing certain sectors is costing jobs in the north west region,” concluded Deputy Mac Sharry.