Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim and parts f south Donegal Eamon Scanlon says the high cost of insurance and the reluctance of some insurers to cover older cars is threatening job opportunities for people living in rural areas, and could cost jobs.

Deputy Scanlon raised the issue in the Dáil this week.

“Over the past number of years, the cost of insurance, and particularly motor insurance, has been the source of much frustration and anger.  Young people are unfairly discriminated against in terms of exceptionally high premiums.  There are plenty of people in their early 20s who live in rural areas and need a car to get to work.  However, while they can afford to buy a car, they cannot afford the insurance.  There are no DARTs, LUASes or regular bus services in south Sligo so unless they can get a lift from their parents or a neighbour, they have no way of getting to work”, explained Deputy Scanlon.

“There is also a serious issue with older cars – especially those which are 10 years or older.  Once a car has passed its NCT, is well maintained and regularly serviced, there should be no reason for insurance premiums to be higher.  However, I have had a number of people come to me claiming that either they cannot get coverage or they are being charged extortionate premiums.  It is outrageous that insurance companies inflate premiums for people driving these cars.

“This policy is affecting rural areas and rural jobs.  Small garages that employ three or four people in towns like Ballymote, Tubbercurry, and Gurteen will not survive if older cars are put off the road.

“Insurance companied must be brought to book on these issues.  The Cost of Insurance Working Group set out a number of recommendations to curb escalating costs.  The government needs to get serious about implementing these so that the burden on hard pressed motorists can be lifted”.

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