January 20, 2022
Minister yet to meet Insurance Ireland over companies pocketing state supports for businesses – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has criticised the Minister for Finance for failing to meet Insurance Ireland over insurance companies pocketing taxpayers’ money that was paid to support struggling business and their staff during the pandemic.

The Donegal TD said the Minister’s failure to meet the insurance industry was a “dereliction of his duty to defend the taxpayer’s interests”.

Teachta Doherty said:

“Yesterday, the Minister for Finance told the Committee that he is yet to meet Insurance Ireland regarding the deduction of State supports from COVID-19 payouts to policyholders by insurance companies.

“Once again the Minister has failed to protect taxpayers’ money.

“Last year his Junior Minister Seán Fleming warned that insurance companies who deducted state supports paid to businesses from valid claims under their insurance policies would not ‘be let off the hook.

“It is clear that both men have decided to let the insurance industry off the hook.

“This means that the taxpayer will have subsidised an insurance industry that has thrived during the pandemic, and its shareholders.

“This is completely unacceptable.

“These supports, funded by the taxpayer, were introduced on the basis that they would make their way to struggling businesses, not profitable insurance companies.

“In March 2020 I wrote to the Government requesting that strict conditions be put on all financial support provided to businesses, so that taxpayers’ money did not find its way to shareholders and those who didn’t need it.

“The Minister has made clear that he will not even attempt recover public money that has been unfairly clawed by insurers in this way on the grounds that it would be ‘retrospective’.

“This is a Minister for Finance who retrospectively taxed those receiving the PUP and how the State pursued those taking a holiday during the pandemic.

“Every effort should be made to claw this money back on behalf of the taxpayer.

“The Minister’s refusal to do so is deeply disappointing.”

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