Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has criticised the Government for failing to deal with the growing insurance crisis which is set to see businesses, community groups and childcare providers close throughout the State in the coming months.
Responding to reports that Ironshore Europe, one of the biggest insurers in the childcare sector, is set to withdraw from the Irish market, Deputy Doherty called on the Taoiseach to immediately set up and lead a task force with key Ministers to deal with the impending crisis.
Speaking today, Deputy Doherty said:
“Yesterday we heard that one of the biggest insurers in the childcare sector, Ironshore Europe, is set to pull out of the Irish market by January. This will mean the threat of closure for thousands of providers and even higher childcare costs for parents.
“Ironshore Europe were one of two leading insurance providers in the sector. They are now set to withdraw from several Irish markets after being bought over by Hamilton Insurance of Liberty Mutual.
“With the policies of thousands of childcare providers due to expire in January, this will mean one of two things.
“Either these childcare providers will be unable to get alternative cover and close, or the lack of competition will increase their premiums still further, leading to higher childcare costs for parents.
“Without exaggerating, this has become a full-blown crisis across several sectors. Not just childcare, but community and voluntary groups, the leisure sector and small businesses.
“The Government have failed to take the failure of the insurance market, and its impact on businesses, seriously. The Minister responsible for the insurance sector doesn’t even sit at the Cabinet table.
“From the opposition benches Sinn Féin have called for immediate reforms in the insurance sector; from the set up of a dedicated Garda Insurance Fraud Unit to the banning of dual pricing by insurance companies. My Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill, which would strengthen the position of consumers in their contracts, is due to pass all stages in the Seanad this week.
“Despite a Programme for Government and four budgets, Fianna Fáil and the Government have failed to take this issue seriously or address it as a priority.
“It can’t be ignored any longer.
“I am calling on the Taoiseach to set up and lead a Ministerial Task Force to address the insurance crisis; not as just another talking shop but to take immediate action. This Task Force should include the Minister for Finance, Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation and Ministers representing the most affected sectors, including the Minister for Children & Youth Affairs.
“This Task Force should meet with the industry and affected sectors, find solutions and deal with this crisis before it ends with the mass closure of businesses and childcare providers across the State”.