News & Media

CCPC must shoulder blame for insurance debacle

20 January 2020

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Spokesperson on Health

Labour Party General Election candidate for Tipperary, Alan Kelly TD, has said that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission must come before the Public Accounts Committee in the next Dáil.

Deputy Kelly said:

“The current crisis in sourcing insurance for various hospitality services, meat industry and childcare centres would not have occurred if the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) were a properly functioning competition authority and had done its job in ensuring proper and effective competition in the Irish insurance market.

“The failure of the CCPC to ensure effective competition in the market comes off the back of its recent toothless investigation in to alleged anti-competitive practices related to the high cost of motor insurance premiums in Ireland.

“Up until 2014 the then Irish Competition Authority had an impressive track record when it came to tackling price fixing and bid rigging in Ireland. However, since the establishment of the CCPC, the enforcement of competition law in Ireland has taken a backward step and in fulfilling its mandate in the area, the CCPC is at best dysfunctional. Nowhere has this been more clearly seen than in relation to the lack of competition in the insurance market.

“Now we are seeing an absence of competition in sectors such as childcare and hospitality. Hard working businesses are struggling to get cover and pay inflated premiums while the so-called competition watchdog does nothing.

“It is my view that the CCPC needs to answer questions as to why it is failing in its mandate to give effect to our competition laws. If the European Commission can see the need to investigate and the public can see the problem through increased premiums and reduced competition then the CCPC is not fit for purpose.

“The CCPC must appear before the PAC to answer questions about its lack of enforcement of competition law within the state and in particular its failure to tackle the obvious lack of effective competition in the Irish insurance market.”