Kelleher seeks clarity on calls for referendum on judicial payouts for compensation claims

11 November 2018
By Bryan Smyth

Personal Injuries Commission recommendations need to be fully implemented to lower the amount awarded for whiplash claims

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.

Billy Kelleher TD

Deputy Kelleher was commenting as new reports in the media suggest that the Government will hold a referendum in a bid to override judges’ discretion in the awarding of compensation claims should no reduction in damages occur within the next two years.

The latest figures published by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board suggest that the average award for a whiplash claim have no reached almost €20,000.

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,” concluded Kelleher.

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