Wednesday, 15 December 2004
Road Traffic Bill 2004: Report and Final Stages.
Ivor Callely (Minister of State, Department of Transport; Dublin North Central, Fianna Fail)
It opposes the proposal with regard to badly injured persons who may be unable to recover the full amount of compensation to which they would be legally entitled. Insurance persons found negligent would suffer financial ruin. Those were the two main points raised by the Law Society.
The society also asked whether, if the provision is enacted, it would have an opportunity to make submissions and meet the Minister before any regulations are made. The Minister, Deputy Cullen, and I have indicated a commitment to openness and transparency in this matter. Before any regulations to impose a limit are introduced and take effect, they will be open to the full scrutiny of the Dáil and Seanad and we will meet any interested groups in respect of them.
I do not see how any limit I may propose might be at a level that would give rise to the situations outlined by Senator Paddy Burke or the Law Society. Whatever limit is put in place, it should always be sufficient to cover any accident that may occur.
At Christmas 2002, a provider of an important support service to one of our main airports was refused unlimited cover for a certain aspect of its operations. The insurance company involved was, however, prepared to offer cover at a level of €1.7 billion. I envisage that a figure of this kind will apply should a specific limit ever be introduced.
I hope my comments have been of assistance to Senator Paddy Burke and other Members. Senators Wilson and Dooley took the opportunity before I entered the House to ask me a couple of relevant questions on this matter and I appreciate their concerns, which they did not take the opportunity to place on the record at this stage. I hope what I have said will clarify matters.