High medical, legal costs attacked
THE European Commission is pushing the Government to reform the legal and medical systems to bring down costs.
Yesterday 'troika' officials gave a mostly positive assessment but saved their strongest language for high costs in what they called the "sheltered part of the economy."
The EU wants to see the "consumer made king" and said the "coronation is near".
In a break from the bureaucratic language used throughout most of their review the troika officials were direct and scathing when they described costs and practices in the legal and medical professions.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter's reforms of the legal profession got a big 'thumbs-up' from the European Commission.
Commission official Istvan Szekely said high legal costs caused direct harm to the economy.
"Ireland must reduce the cost to companies of enforcing legal contracts." He said the issue is especially crucial to the SME sector.
Mr Szekely said he paid around half as much to visit a GP in Brussels as is typical in Ireland.
"If you lose €10 a month from your salary but GP costs fall €10 then you have the same spending power," he said.
Troika officials said they had spent an hour with Mr Shatter and backed his plans for wide-ranging changes to the legal profession.
With the troika's eye on outrageous fees the medical profession came in for even more criticism.
In a pointed attack on Irish doctors, Mr Szekely said the Belgian and EU capital is by no means a poor city.
Cutting the cost of access to medicine would boost competitiveness throughout the economy he said.