Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Tony Killeen (Minister of State, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; Clare, Fianna Fail)
An examination of the insurance area illustrates well the challenges we face in this regard. The Deputy is right to suggest that competition affects prices and value in this sector more than in many other sectors. He is also right to point out that the Personal Injuries Assessment Board has been challenged in the courts. The court challenge highlights the difficulty of dealing with the problems in this area. The National Competitiveness Council report contained good news about costs in areas such as food and clothing and emphasised Ireland's positive position in that regard. It addressed the areas of competition and consumer policy in considerable detail. Despite the ongoing difficulties in the insurance sector which were mentioned by Deputy Hogan, it is fair to say that considerable progress has been made. I do not doubt that similar progress will be achieved in the other areas if the report's recommendations are adopted.