Belfast Telegraph

Cure for whiplash in Ireland is a compensation payment, Leo Varadkar says

The Taoiseach said that insurance premiums and payouts are a ‘huge concern’.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said payouts for personal injuries are four and five times what they are in other jurisdictions (Niall Carson/PA)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said payouts for personal injuries are four and five times what they are in other jurisdictions (Niall Carson/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

The Fine Gael and Fianna Fail leadership have criticised payouts and premiums caused by personal injury claims.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin took aim at the insurance industry and “the culture of claim at any cost”.

“A range of groups across the country feel that their enterprises are endangered by the dramatically escalating costs and premiums of insurances, and that many businesses, in particular, are under significant threat,” he said.

“It’s fair to say that the government’s response to date has been one of considerable inertia, delay after delay and a lack of urgency in grappling with the essentials of this crisis.”

We all know that about 90% of people, once they receive payment, no longer need to attend treatment for their whiplash, it seems that the cure for whiplash is compensation payment in Ireland and not any medical treatment Leo Varadkar

Mr Martin called on the Taoiseach to pass legislation ensuring fraudsters would face the full rigours of the law.

“Eight months ago, the minister (for justice, Charlie Flanagan) indicated that he would do this within a month, and it’s not been dealt with,” he said.

The Taoiseach agreed with his political rival on the issue that insurance premiums and payouts are a “huge concern” for businesses and customers.

He noted that payouts for personal injuries are four and five times what they are in other jurisdictions.

“We all know that about 90% of people, once they receive payment, no longer need to attend treatment for their whiplash, it seems that the cure for whiplash is compensation payment in Ireland and not any medical treatment.

“There is legislation being brought through by Deputy (Sinn Fein TD) Pearse Doherty that cabinet just approved this morning.

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Micheal Martin accused ministers of ‘inertia’ on the issue (Brian Lawless/PA)

“Two amendments he proposed to that legislation, we’re going to bring that through and that results in greater transparency around insurance costs.

“The most important reform is the Judicial Council, setting up its independent committee to review the quantum of awards paid to people who suffer injuries in Ireland.

“We’d expect if they go down, the insurance industry itself, which is very profitable, should respond with lower premiums.

“In terms of the Garda response, there was a recommendation that there be a dedicated bureau established to deal specifically with the issue of insurance fraud.

“The Garda Commissioner has decided in his wisdom and his position, and I agree with this, that rather than having a dedicated National Bureau just dealing with insurance fraud, that this is best done at divisional and local level, and through national economic rights bureau.

“So, it is being done, it’s just being done in the way that the Garda Commissioner thinks is best.”

PA

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