Limerick councillors are 'appalled' by high insurance costs 

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Cllr O’Ceallaigh argued that “car insurance is one of the biggest  costs facing young people in the country today”

Cllr O’Ceallaigh argued that “car insurance is one of the biggest costs facing young people in the country today”

A YOUNG man was quoted an €6000 to insure his car, Sinn Fein councillor Seighin O’Ceallaigh has revealed, describing it as an “extortionate quote”.  

The man was 20 years old, with a full, clean licence for two years, the councillor told a meeting of Limerick City and County Council where he called on Transport Minister Shane Ross to address what he called the “astronomical rise in car insurance”.

However, Cllr Emmett O’Brien Independent  pointed out that insurance costs have come down this year.

“We have enough state quangos,” he said before pointing out: “Insurance costs have come down this year, over the last six months for a variety of reasons.”

“Because they were caught,” declared Cllr John Gilligan Ind. “The EU raided all the offices of the insurance offices, then suddenly, miraculously, it began to fall, it came down because they were caught.”

In proposing his motion, Cllr O’Ceallaigh argued that “car insurance is one of the biggest  costs facing young people in the country today”.

And he added that people of all ages relied on cars, given the lack of public transport in many areas. “We have legislation saying people have to have insurance but there is no regulation on what they can be charged.

“The government can no longer ignore the crisis,” he continued and the issue of regulation had to be looked at along with the idea of a national insurance company.

Cllr Richard O’Donoghue, Ind, agreed, explaining that it cost €7000 to insure two of his sons. Even with GPS monitoring drivers at all times, companies are still charging huge money, he said. “The principle is brilliant but the amount they are charging is wrong,” he said.

He also suggested that every car should have a dashboard camera as it would be a deterrent to false claims. The cameras cost just €36, he said.

“A car is no longer a luxury but a necessity,” Cllr Ciara McMahon SF said.  For some, insurance was “another mortgage payment” and in the case of young drivers, insurance was three, four and more, times the cost of the car. They are  constantly targeting young drivers.”

Cllr Cian Prendiville Solidarity weighed in saying, “It is pure, red in tooth and claw greed and we shouldn’t be surprised.”

Insurance companies were out to maximise profits at the expense of ordinary people.

“We have to end reliance on the market,” he added, coming out in favour of a publicly owned and controlled insurance company.  

“What is happening is a national disgrace,” Cllr Seamus Browne SF said, adding that insurance increases were “well above any other indicator”. Solutions needed to be found and at national level, he argued.

Fine Gael’s Cllr Jerome Scanlan said the motion from Cllr O’Ceallaigh was “ both sound and timely”. One of the problems, he believed, was the ease with which insurance companies paid out claims rather than pursue them through the courts. As a result, he said, all of us are meeting that cost through our insurance. “The pay out is a problem.”

“Once the claim is under a certain amount, they won’t even send out an investigator to investigate,” Cllr Paul Keller Solidarity argued.

Unfortunately, Cllr Daniel Butler FG said, young drivers were implicated in a disproportionate number of accidents and they are going to have to bear the cost.

The motion was passed and will now be forwarded to the Minister for Transport.