Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Business Insurance: Motion [Private Members]
Marc MacSharry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fianna Fail)
I welcome the members of the Alliance for Insurance Reform in the Public Gallery, particularly Peter Boland and Linda Murray, who have done a lot of work in this area. I know the Minister of State personally. We spent two years locked in the banking inquiry and got to know each other very well. I do not doubt his personal commitment to the task at hand but the issue is timing. My first question is whether the Minister of State has enough staff. I know he has the political will. Are his colleagues blocking his progress? Is the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport blocking what the Minister of State wants to do because we have working on this in the House for three years? Fianna Fáil has put down a number of motions and proposed changes to legislation. As Deputy Michael McGrath rightly highlighted, it seems as though one Bill is being stalled, which is unacceptable. We have yet to establish a national claims information database, tackle insurance fraud, establish a judicial council to compile guidelines for general damages, establish a publicly funded anti-fraud unit in An Garda Síochána, establish a business insurance premium index and take any action in stabilising personal injury claims. The stones on the road know what needs to happen. The group in the Public Gallery has done great work but there have been many groups before it that have highlighted this. We need to take tangible action. I want the Minister of State to be honest with the House, as Deputy Michael McGrath said. He should tell us whether he is being blocked by senior Ministers. Does the Government lack the will to do this? If it does not lack the will, what is the problem? We have been at it for three years. Make the necessary changes and introduce the tangible improvements that we need so that businesses can, in the first instance, set up and, second, survive.