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March coverage 2021

Insurance Reform

‘ISME was deeply disappointed with reduction in minor injuries awards.  This reduction will not remove the economic incentives for people to sue, even for the most inconsequential of injuries. ISME is shocked that having waited years for reform, we have been given proposals for damages which will keep the personal injuries gravy train running and this will barely dent the cost of insurance.

Neil McDonnell, CEO of ISME said: “It appears to us that the Judicial Council has prioritised the livelihoods of their litigation colleagues over the urgent societal need for reform. This is deeply regrettable. While we will give a more fulsome opinion in time, it is clear that Government must now fulfil its obligations to citizens and society and press on with enactment of the Civil Liability (Capping of General Damages) Bill 2019, which lapsed in the 25th Seanad.”

This was covered on both National and Regional news outlets. Some examples below:

SME borrowing

There is unlikely to be a significant increase in borrowing within the SME sector until businesses have certainty on 2021 and the lifting of pandemic restrictions. Figures released by the Central Bank that show gross new lending advanced to SMEs in the final three months of 2020 was €1.4bn, significantly below the €1.6bn loaned to businesses in the same period in 2019. For all of 2020, new lending to core SMEs totalled €2.9bn, reflecting a year-on-year decline of €704m. ISME chief executive Neil McDonnell told the Irish Examiner he did not see a return to significant credit activity in the short term. Currently, SMEs don’t want to borrow and banks don’t want to lend. I don’t see anything changing that until businesses are clear on how 2021 proceeds.”


ISME, has called for the reduction in the standard rate of VAT to be maintained beyond the end of this month. The rate was reduced from 23% to 21% last year in order to help businesses and consumers and stimulate economic activity. “The jobs stimulus introduced by the Government has been a welcome effort and essential in assisting the Irish economy in the severest of circumstances arising from the pandemic,”  said Neil McDonnell, CEO of ISME.