Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath made the claim during the second day of a Dáil debate on motor insurance, insisting the situation amounts to people having their hard-earned money “hijacked”.
Speaking as Fine Gael allowed a Fianna Fáil motion to set up a taskforce to examine the issue to pass without a vote, despite not agreeing to establishing such a group, Mr McGrath said now is the time for immediate action.
“This [motor insurance price hikes] is naked hijacking, if terrorists were doing it there’d be an outcry. We need to put some manners on them,” he said.
Mr McGrath’s comments came as a number of other opposition TDs welcomed the Government’s decision to allow the Fianna Fáil motion to pass without a vote, but warned this must now mean immediate action is taken to address the issue.
Urging the creation of an independent taskforce to examine the situation, Fianna Fáil TD John Lahart said the current crisis is resulting in “cars simply being abandoned in estates” and “some people taking to the roads with nothing but the sky for cover”.
Party colleague, social protection spokesperson Willie O’Dea, said figures show between May 2015 and May 2016 motor insurance premiums rose by 35.5%.
Independent TD Clare Daly said “the only credible explanation is there is a cartel operating for profit”.
However, despite accepting the issues, junior Finance Minister Eoghan Murphy said Government believes an internal Department of Finance review is adequate and that the task force called for by the motion will only be set up if it still required after this .
“We will be coming back to ask you what you have done in a few months,” FF transport spokesperson Robert Troy warned.