Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (378)

Michael McGrath

Question:

378. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount of funds held by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board; if there is a mechanism for withdrawing the funding to the Exchequer; the progress made in this regard; her plans to use the funds for insurance reform; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23387/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

In 2011, the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) refunded its establishment costs of €6.9 million to the Exchequer. In 2017 the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) recommended that my Department and PIAB agree an appropriate level of revenue reserves to be retained by PIAB and the basis for holding such a reserve. The C&AG also recommended the introduction of appropriate legislation to deal with excess funds held by PIAB. Legal advice obtained by the Department at that time was to the effect that legislative change was required to enable the Board to remit excess moneys to the Exchequer.

At the end of 2018, the cumulative reserves held by PIAB were €18.1 million.

Section 74A of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003 as inserted by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2019, provides that PIAB may, with the consent of the Ministers for Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Public Expenditure and Reform, retain a specified sum of money for the purposes of expenditure by the Board in the performance of its functions. The sum to be retained shall be determined having regard to the operational, capital and contingency costs of the Board.

Following the enactment of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2019, my Department wrote to PIAB to request proposals for the surrender of moneys to the Exchequer, having regard to their operational, capital and contingency costs. The proposals received are currently being considered by my Department.

It will be a matter for Government to allocate the moneys remitted by PIAB as it considers appropriate.