Govern­ment urged to act fast on fraud­u­lent claims leg­is­la­tion

Irish Independent - Business Week - - FRONT PAGE - Char­lie We­ston

THE Govern­ment has been called on to quickly en­act new leg­is­la­tion that will re­quire the au­to­matic re­fer­ral of fraud­u­lent and ex­ag­ger­ated in­jury claimants for pros­e­cu­tion.

It comes af­ter a pri­vate mem­bers’ bill on false claims passed through the sec­ond stage in the Dáil.

The Civil Li­a­bil­ity and Courts (Amend­ment) Bill, spon­sored by Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelle­her, was un­op­posed by the Govern­ment and re­ceived wide­spread sup­port.

The Al­liance for In­sur­ance Re­form wel­comed the pass­ing of the bill in the Dáil.

It said that the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion sees fraud­u­lent cases dis­missed, but the claimants walk away sanc­tion-free. This is de­spite pro­vi­sions in other pieces of leg­is­la­tion that al­low gar­daí to pros­e­cute those who make false claims.

In­sur­ance Ire­land said re­cently its mem­bers had handed over 167 files on fraud- ulent cases to gar­daí in 2016. It was not clear if there have been pros­e­cu­tions.

There was a need for the new leg­is­la­tion, Eoin McCam­bridge of the Al­liance said.

“There is no rea­son why this short, prac­ti­cal bill can­not be en­acted quickly. We call on the Govern­ment and the Oireach­tas Jus­tice Com­mit­tee to in­sure this hap­pens,” he said.

If passed, the bill would di­rect a court to re­fer a fraud­u­lent or ex­ag­ger­ated claim to the Direc­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions.

For­mer High Court pres­i­dent Ni­cholas Kearns said re­cently the risk of pros­e­cu­tion for fraud­u­lent claims is “vir­tu­ally zero”. He was speak­ing af­ter pre­sent­ing the fi­nal re­port of the Per­sonal In­juries Com­mis­sion.

TD Mr Kelle­her said de­spite the high level of cases and the costs in­volved, there is no “manda­tory” law en­sur­ing peo­ple wrongly mak­ing the claims face le­gal ac­tion. He said we can­not have a so­ci­ety where the cheat is the one who wins.

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