“Childcare insurance pay-out welcome but it should not have been necessary,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, that she is to allocate childcare providers and creches with a once off payment of €1500 to offset the dramatic increase in their insurance costs. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Minister announced a €7 million Emergency Fund only hours after the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, had rejected the proposal in the Dáil; describing it as ‘reckless’:

“There is no doubt that this move by the Minister, clearly against the judgement of the Taoiseach, will give childcare owners and parents a much needed breathing space. That is certainly welcome.

The fact remains however, that this is a crisis that was on the cards for years given the entirely dysfunctional nature of the insurance market in this state.

Lack of direct and effective government intervention at the regulatory level has played a huge part in this latest insurance crisis.

Insurance providers will now be looking with glee at the prospect at having the state continually intervening to meet whatever exorbitant fees they dream up next.

The Minister herself has accepted that she was “stunned” by a Report provided to her that has shown full-time crèche fees have risen by 3.6pc this year, with weekly fees per child ranging from €148 to €246.

It is also the case that childcare providers have now cautioned parents that these massive increases in premiums will be passed on to parents. Childcare providers are caught between a rock and a hard place. They are devastated to find themselves in this totally invidious position.

Unless we come to terms once and for all with the broken and toxic insurance sector in this state, then we will be back here again in a few months’ time.

Parents and providers deserve better than that,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Courts Local Issues

“Government can side with the insurance industry or the motorist, but not both,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that unless the government introduces immediate and substantial sanctions for motor insurance companies found to be demanding unjustifiable premiums, then the existing situation will simply continue. Deputy McGrath was speaking after a damning Central Bank Report confirmed that although the cost of motor insurance claims fell by 2.5 per cent between 2009 and 2018; premiums rose by 42 per cent:

“In February 2018, I and my colleagues in the Rural Independent Group placed a Private Members Motion in the Dáil demanding that action be taken to deal with the soaring costs of motor insurance. All sorts of tough words were spoken by government about how they were dealing with the issue and about how the industry culture would be tackled.
It was hot air and bluff then, and it will be tough talking rubbish now if immediate sanctions are not put in place.

The time for debate is over. We have the clearest evidence yet that the Irish motorist is being fleeced while the industry makes up to 9% profits, in the realm of tens of millions of euros each year.
At the time of our Motion I called for the delivery of real transparency on how premiums are calculated and why quotes are refused, with additional access to a robust independent insurance appeals process.

Nothing of the kind has been delivered. Instead we have a Fine Gael Minister of State in Michael D’Arcy who reminds us ad nauseam about what he is doing to tackle this crisis. Unfortunately for the Irish motorist and Irish business owner, all his words have delivered precisely zero in the real world where premiums are still exorbitant and unjustifiable.
The government must find courage from somewhere and do what needs to be done once and for and all-which is to tackle what effectively amounts to a legalised scam being perpetrated on the Irish public,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Local Issues

“Government departments approve 348 contracts outside procurement guidelines,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release

“Government departments approve 348 contracts outside procurement guidelines,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and the Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with Special Responsibility for Public Procurement, Patrick O’Donovan, to initiate a government wide investigation into how at least 348 contracts worth approximately €100 million were awarded outside of government procurement guidelines. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he raised the matter with the Taoiseach during Leaders Questions in the Dáil:

“This information was only released to me after I submitted a number of Parliamentary Questions to each government department.

The replies were simply astonishing in that they point to a widescale practice within almost all departments of awarding contracts, in some cases to the value of tens of millions of euros, without any competitive tendering.

If your local parish hall or school was applying for a grant, they would normally have to provide evidence of two or three tenders in order to assure the government grant provider that value for money was being achieved.

When it comes to government departments however, no such constraints seem to exist. On paper there is a rigorous commitment and promotion of better public procurement practices to deliver fair and transparent competitions to enterprises like SME’s; but in practice this is not what is happening.

Through the replies I have received it was shown that the department of Children and Youth Affairs alone was found to have issued 60 non-compliant contracts totalling €5.4 million in 2018 and a further 69 non-compliant contracts in 2017.

The Department of Justice entered into contracts with a value of more than €13.1million were on 74 occasions; all outside the government’s own procurement guidelines.

All of this only undermines the fact that this government is reckless and irresponsible with the hard earned taxes of ordinary people.

We need a root and branch reform to ensure that the interests of workers and taxpayers are meaningfully