Civil Liability (Capping of General Damages) Bill 2019: First Stage

I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to provide for the imposition of a cap on the level of awards which may be made in respect of a claim for general damages arising from personal injury; to provide for the confirmation by each House of the Oireachtas of draft regulations; to provide for a review of this Act; and to provide for related matters.

I thank the Leader for allowing the amendment to the Order of Business this morning. I thank my colleagues who co-signed the Bill and my staff, Mr. Adam Smith and Mr. Fintan Brett, who worked diligently on the Bill over the past couple of weeks. I also thank the various organisations who support the Bill, including ISME, IBEC and the IFA, and also the representatives of the vintners and restaurants. I thank the members of the general public who contacted me in recent weeks about this Bill.

The Bill is about capping the general damages in civil liability cases.

We do not normally allow any speech.

I will not be long. The Bill allows the Minister to introduce regulations that have to be passed by both Houses. It is about claims inflation, which has allowed claims to be four and a half times higher than in the United Kingdom. Claims inflation is a result of what the Judiciary is imposing on insurance companies regarding pay-outs. This leads to premium inflation, which has affected every one of us. Every small business and every citizen experiences some form of inflation. There is a cost imposed on the ordinary person and small businesses. This Bill is in the public interest.

I ask the Senator to wrap up. He is making Second Stage speech.

I will wrap up in a second. The objective is to reduce premiums, particularly when there is a competition worry with regard to Brexit. I am delighted to be able to introduce this Bill today. Second Stage will be in the next couple of weeks.

I second the proposal.

Question put and agreed to.

When is it proposed to take Second Stage?

I thank everybody who voted for the amendment to the Order of Business. It was historic.

Second Stage ordered for Tuesday, 12 March 2019.