Ireland could be having a referendum on compensation claim payouts
We do love a good referendum.
Fianna Fáil’s Business, Enterprise and Innovation Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher has said the Government must provide further clarity on its intentions to hold a referendum in an attempt to reduce the sums awarded for whiplash compensation claims.
It had been reported by the Irish Times that Minister of State at the Department of Finance Michael D’Arcy had said he would push for a referendum on the issue if Ireland's compensation claim payouts were not brought in line with the rest of Europe.
The furore follows figures released by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, which revealed that payouts for whiplash in Ireland average at €20,000 — over four times higher than the average sum in England and Wales.
However, D'Arcy's gung-ho attitude towards a referendum has been attacked by Fianna Fáil.
Deputy Kelleher said, “If this Government intends on intervening in judicial discretion, it should firmly outline its case as top why they believe this is a suitable approach. This shouldn’t be an adhoc or knee jerk move considering the precedent it would set and the implications of so.
“Upholding judicial independence is crucially important. I am concerned that this claim made by Minister D’Arcy, to hold a referendum is designed to directly interfere with the judiciary in our State. There are a number of recommendations put forward by the Chairperson of the Personal Injuries Commission that should be examined and implemented foremost to alleviate the cost of claims and before a referendum should even be properly considered.
“The Government needs to take the lead on putting in place serious insurance reforms not place it’s focus on improperly constraining judicial decisions."
Ireland has voted in two referendums so far in 2018 — one on repealing the constitutional ban on abortion, and another repealing the constitutional requirement for a law against blasphemy.