Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Business Insurance: Motion [Private Members]
I acknowledge the people in the Gallery. The number of them and indeed the number of people who wish to contribute to the debate signify just how serious is this issue. The people in the Gallery are captains of industry, people who have invested in, created and generated employment in the regions.
The Minister of State facilitated a deputation for me on this very issue a number of weeks ago. He replied in a comprehensive letter. He outlined that the cost of the working group was established in July 2016, almost three years ago. He signified that he had produced two reports. However, the key point in the letter is that he said - I do not for a minute question his sincerity and commitment to this issue - that undoubtedly, one of the key areas raised by the various stakeholders to this group is the level of awards in this country compared with elsewhere. He reported in September 2016 and concluded that the payouts on soft tissue injuries are significantly higher than in the UK and the recommended action was the establishment of a judicial council. There should be no reason this has not been established. The only reason it has not been established is that there is one man who is fortunate enough to have been elected to this House and to sit at the Cabinet table who has never created one job in his long life. He is delaying the establishment of the judicial council. That must be called out, and that man is the Minister, Deputy Ross. It is high time that the Government stood up to the Minister and told him that he can no longer prolong and delay the critical reforms that are necessary just so he can pursue a vanity project regarding the way in which judges are appointed. It is time he was called out and time his colleagues in government did so and held him to account. The Judicial Appointments Commission Bill going through the Seanad is the reason and the rationale given for bringing in this crucial legislation that will help save jobs. If that man, who is fortunate enough to serve in government, is serious about supporting jobs and supporting industry, that is what needs to happen, the Judicial Council Bill needs to advance at a rapid pace in the Seanad and the law needs to be enacted to ensure that people such as those in the Gallery get the rewards they deserve.