The government has been urged to take immediate action to save a wave of community and business closures across the State.
Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD made a call for immediate action as nearly half of the community and voluntary groups face closure or cutbacks in services as the insurance market failure continues to deepen.
Speaking today (Weds), Doherty said: “The recent survey by Public Participation Networks has cast a light on the depth of the insurance crisis in the voluntary and community centre. It is a stark warning of what is to come if immediate action is not taken.
“In the recent survey, it was revealed that 83% of groups in the sector have faced high insurance premium hikes in the past three years, with a significant number seeing their premium costs more than double.
“Of these groups, 30% are now paying more than €1500 annually for insurance cover.
“As a result, groups across the State that run community centres, sports clubs and services for older people are facing imminent closure or a wind-down in their operations.
“These damages communities, jobs and local economies, and represents a growing market failure in the market.
“The government has failed to act with any sense of urgency.
“We want to see the immediate establishment of a Garda Insurance Fraud Unit equipped with financial specialists and detectives.
“We want the National Information Claims Database immediately extended to the employer and public liability insurance.
“We want an immediate scoping exercise into direct government intervention into the insurance market as we face the immediate threat of business closures State-wide.
“This week I received a letter from the EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager confirming that there is no barrier to the Irish government investigating market failure in the insurance industry.
“We are facing one now, and it is time to act.”