Irish politician pursues referendum on personal injury awards
In a new referendum put forth to the Judicial Council, an Irish Minister with the Department of Finance in Ireland is proposing substantial cuts to personal injury payout claims. In a study done of payouts compared to England and Wales, payouts for personal injury claims in traffic accidents are 4.4 times higher than those of the other two countries.
Michael D’Arcy, a junior minister with the Fine Gael is pushing the referendum based on the fact that upper neck and back injuries ceded a payout of over €20,000 and he hopes that the council will accept the referendum and change the policy. Michael D’Arcy has obtained his information based on data provided by the Personal Injuries Commission.
There are those who have cause for concern if the referendum passes because although the payout for the whiplash injuries will be lessened, the referendum does nothing to address insurance premiums which will still cost the same. The other cause for concern is that there are those who believe the government’s interference has not been properly outlined and is a spur of the moment decision that needs to be adequately justified.
The government has cautioned that the change needs to be implemented and has done so above and beyond the discretion of a judge, and there are those who feel the interference of the government in the judiciary state, are motivated by more than just a claims and insurance payout reform. Fianna Fáil’s Business, Enterprise, and Innovation Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher has expressed that if the reform is pushed through without a thorough explanation as to the justification of the reform, then it is interfering with judicial process.
This isn’t the first time Senator Michael D’Arcy has faced adversity in his career. In an adverse viewpoint in 2013, Gorey Councillor Malcolm Byrn challenged Senator Michael D’Arcy about the abolition of Seanad, and D’Arcy has expressed his stance is to represent the people of North Wexford. D’Arcy has also expressed his stance to support the government referendum, and only two referendums have been voted on in 2018 which was to repeal the ban on abortion and repeal the requirement for laws against blasphemy.
The Fianna Fáil has expressed that other avenues to lessen the impact of claims have been proposed by the Chairperson of the Personal Injuries Commission, and the spokesperson, Billy Kelleher urges the government to consider these avenues of change before pushing the referendum through. Kelleher feels the issue isn’t just personal claims that need to be revaluated, but the insurance claims process as a whole should be revised for the benefit of the people of Ireland. What is certain, is that there is a divide between those who feel the reform, as radical as it is, is necessary and the change is due, and there are those who feel not all avenues and options for finding the right system for claims and solicitors personal injury services have been examined and considered.