Government criticised for inadequate action on motor insurance costs, says Kilkenny TD

Political journalist Tim Ryan analyses and writes about issues at both local and national level

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Soaring motor insurance costs for businesses and families must be tackled

Measures introduced by the Government to tackle the high cost of motor insurance are not nearly enough, Fianna Fáil Deputy Bobby Aylward told the Dáil.

“I do not say this lightly,” he said. “I say it because that is what I hear regularly from our young people, taxi drivers, road hauliers and people in many other sectors of society.

"They become disillusioned when they learn their premiums are being increased by 15% with no meaningful reason given for such a rise.”

Older people, in particular, he said, who have never had a claim against them and have never had penalty points on their licences are very aggrieved, and rightly so. Nobody had told him that their premiums are going down on an annual basis.

“For over 12 months Fianna Fáil has been calling for action on the rising cost of motor insurance,” he said.

“In 2014, motor insurance increased by 11.6% and in 2015 it increased by almost 30%. In the 12 months since December 2016, private motor insurance increased by 12%. These are staggering figures.”

In response, Minister of State Michael D’Arcy said the cost of insurance working group’s report on the cost of motor insurance was published in January 2017 and makes 33 recommendations with 71 associated actions to be carried out in agreed timeframes, which are set out in an action plan.

“It should be noted that the average cost of motor insurance has been consistently falling since the middle of 2016,” he said.

“The ongoing implementation of the motor report recommendations is contributing to this trend. The most recent CSO data show that the reduction is 18.1% since July 2016.”

Funchion seeks update on ASD places for next school year

An update on the timeframe for the review of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) places available to children in primary and post-primary schools in Carlow-Kilkenny was sought in the Dáil by Sinn Féin Deputy Kathleen Funchion.

Speaking during Question Time, she said knowing exactly where their children will go to school in September takes the pressure off parents.

“They have a place either in a special school or in an ASD unit,” she said.

“However, all the schools with ASD units maintain that they have waiting lists. I am surprised that the NCSE claims that there are adequate places in the Carlow-Kilkenny constituency. If there were adequate places, surely there would be no waiting lists.”

Deputy Funchion said that while she had raised one or two specific cases with the Minister for Education & Skills and they have been resolved, she was aware of other instances where people are awaiting places in ASD units in September and have still not got them.

“It is not possible to have adequate places and still have children on waiting lists,” she said. “I would like to tease that out more and to get a more detailed response from the NCSE.”

In response Minister Richard Bruton said the NCSE had advised his Department that there are sufficient special class placements for the 2018-2019 school year for the children known to it.

“On specific provision, my Department has approved a grant to St. Lachtain's in Freshford to construct a two-classroom ASD unit and to upgrade an existing classroom to facilitate the operation of a third ASD class,” he said.

“I understand that a further application for funding for associated works has recently been submitted and my officials are considering this application.

"The NCSE has also sanctioned another primary class in St. John's Junior School in Kilkenny and accommodation issues are now under consideration.

"The NCSE will continue to engage with schools in the area with a view to ensuring there is sufficient special class provision in the coming school years.”