Seanad debates

Thursday, 14 January 2016

10:30 am

Photo of Michael MullinsMichael Mullins (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I offer my full support to Senator Kelly. While it might suit Galway to weaken Roscommon from a football perspective, we are certainly full square behind Roscommon in its fight to hold on to the Monksland area. Taking the area into County Westmeath would impoverish County Roscommon and it would lose a significant rates base. It would have a major, detrimental impact on the county of Roscommon and the services there. The county can be assured that the Oireachtas representatives from County Galway strongly support Roscommon in retaining the county boundaries as they currently exist.

With regard to Senator Ó Clochartaigh's Commencement matter this morning on the cost of car insurance for young drivers and for those who drive older cars I agree with many of the good points made by the Senator. The cost of insurance is causing hardship for many people. However, the Senator knows there is a limit to what Government can do and it is precluded by EU rules from interfering in the insurance market. I am glad the review of the insurance sector is being conducted by the Department of Finance, the Central Bank and other agencies. There are some steps the Government can take and I would like to see a serious analysis of why the cost of insurance has risen so dramatically for certain people in certain sectors. One of the reasons is that we all pay to cover the costs of significant claims of uninsured drivers.I would like to see a Government tackling this issue head on. There are things that can be done. If somebody goes out on the road in an uninsured car not only does that put the lives of others at risk but it penalises other drivers whose premiums will be hiked. That car should be confiscated and that person should not be allowed back on the road for a significant period.

There have been several high profile cases reported in the media this year of fraudulent claims. There is an opportunity for further significant savings in this area. I hope the review of the insurance sector by Government and the Central Bank will bring about significant reductions in insurance premiums.

I welcome the launch today of Ireland’s first national physical activity plan by the Ministers for Transport, Tourism and Sport and Health to increase by at least 50,000 every year the number of people taking exercise as a normal part of their daily lives. I welcome the support for community walking groups, the active school flag programme and building on initiatives to get Ireland swimming, cycling and running.


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