The Cabinet Committee Sub-Group on Insurance Reform published its most recent Implementation Report last July. In it, the Sub-Group reported that, “The Department of Justice is working on a General Scheme to give effect to the proposals (on duty of care) and expects to bring these to Government in September 2021 for approval.”
However, this General Scheme has not as yet been published and no revised timeline for its publication has been given.
“The duty of care applicable to every premises and event in the country has been a weight around the neck of voluntary and community groups, charities, sports and cultural organisations and businesses for far too long,” said Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole and a Director of the Alliance, “Too often, organisations are found liable for accidents they had no hand, act or part in because the courts and insurers impose an absolute duty of care on them, ignoring the role played by the injured party themselves. The concept of personal responsibility has been significantly diminished by the Courts in recent years. The duty of care must be rebalanced in a way that’s fair, reasonable, practical and proportionate and in the public interest.”
Eoin McCambridge, Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway and a Director of the Alliance, added, “The Government acknowledged the seriousness of the insurance crisis in establishing the Cabinet Sub-Group for Insurance Reform in September 2020, chaired by the Tánaiste and including many of the key Ministers and Ministers of State involved in this issue. After some initial progress on issues such as the Judicial Guidelines, the Sub Group appears to have regressed to a box-ticking exercise, claiming recently that ’34 actions out of 66 have been completed’ when what is needed is an intense focus on key reforms such as the duty of care. If we continue to lose momentum on this issue, I’m afraid the war against unsustainable insurance costs will be lost.”
Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance, said, “We call on Minister McEntee to fast-track the delayed General Scheme on rebalancing the duty of care as a matter of urgency. Policyholders cannot wait any longer for meaningful reform of this key issue.”