As Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I hope Deputy Humphreys saw the story in this morning's Irish Independent regarding Fort Lucan, an adventure centre in Lucan that has had to reduce its offering to customers and clients. The business has been there for 25 years, it has grown, it has given great service to families and communities and it employs people. Owing to a massive €25,000 per annum hike in its insurance premium it now has to reduce its offering. This centre is one of 61 play centres across the country that has been threatened with closure this year because of insurance premiums. It is one of countless numbers of small businesses across this country faced with closure, redundancies and reduced services because of increasing insurance premiums, all aligned with a complete lack of action from Government in terms of address of the issue. What we get from Government in regard to insurance premiums is nice words, pats on the back, group hugs and promises, but no action. There is zero action. Meanwhile, businesses are closing, services are being reduced and premiums are increasing.
One example of the lack of action is the Civil Liability and Courts (Amendment) Bill 2018, which was introduced by Deputy Kelleher earlier this year and passed by the Dáil, but is awaiting a money message from the Government. It provides that where a case is dismissed under section 26 claimants would have to pay legal costs.
There was also a verbal commitment by Government to establish a specific fraud unit within An Garda Síochána. That was reversed by the Minister, Deputy Flanagan, last week in the run-in to the elections. He said that it was not a matter for him but for the Garda. He would not deal with it even though these two issues have been pointed out by several experts as being a key driver of the costs of claims increasing in this country.
Deputy Humphreys is the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. She has a good team. Who in Cabinet will stand up for small and medium enterprises, SMEs, against the cabal of lawyers who are refusing to do anything about insurance costs? Who in Cabinet will stand up against the might of the insurance industry versus small business which is forced to pay for that might? Who in Cabinet will stand up for community festivals which have to curtail their offerings or stop the festival because of insurance premiums? This is being raised month after month and year after year. My colleague, Deputy Michael McGrath, was the first to start highlighting this issue during this Dáil, in 2016, yet we have had no action. Will the Minister stand up for small business?