Social Democrats Councillor Carly Bailey has said much more urgency is needed from government to tackle soaring insurance premiums that are damaging small businesses and social enterprises around the country.

Rathfarnam-Templeogue Councillor Bailey said:

“Today’s research by the Public Participation Networks shows that nearly half of community and voluntary groups have had to reduce their activities due to rising insurance costs. Nearly half also say they are at risk of having to shut down completely if the price of insurance continues to rise.

“Small businesses and voluntary groups are the backbone of our communities, providing play spaces, activity centres, and community, recreation and sports facilities. The government is standing by while they are being driven into the ground by rising insurance premiums. If these soaring insurance costs continue unabated, it will have a devastating impact on the fabric of communities all around the country.

“In my own constituency, the Fettercairn Youth Horse Project in Tallaght is right now facing a massive hike in its public liability insurance, from €8,000 in 2018 to €42,000. The project has had to spend its reserves to meet these costs, which pose a real threat the future of this fantastic community facility which does so much great work with children with special needs. One example given to an Oireachtas Committee earlier this year showed that that a child’s train operator for shopping centres faces an annual insurance bill of around €30,000 in Ireland, but only £1,500 for the same service in the UK.”

Cllr Bailey added:

“It’s clear that everyone, except vested interests, loses under the current system. One of the issues is the book of quantum which has to be reformed to significantly lower awards for minor injuries. It is also clear that insurance companies are boosting profits based on industry figures for fraudulent claims that haven’t withstood scrutiny.

“The Judicial Council Bill has been passed, but the government needs to get cracking in setting up the Council so that the Book of Quantum can be overhauled to bring Ireland into line with pay-outs in other countries, and, with better regulation, reduce premia.”

ENDS

11th September 2019