'Monster rally': Thousands to protest over motor insurance
Thousands of motorists are set to rally in Dublin at the weekend to protest over soaring insurance premiums.
The protesters are calling for a proper probe into why premiums have shot up by 67pc in the last three years, and demanding changes to legislation to stop fraudulent and exaggerated claimants getting pay-outs.
Up to 6,000 cars are expected to travel to the event on Saturday at 2pm at Merrion Square, being co-ordinated by Kerry travel agent Kian Griffin through a group called Ireland Underground.
This could mean up to 15,000 people rally over rising insurance rates, assuming two or three people to a car.
The surging cost of motor cover prompted Mr Griffin to organise the monster rally in Dublin. He said there was huge concern over what he said was the lack of action from the Government and the Central Bank.
Mr Griffin (24) said: "We are expecting around 6,000 cars to travel to the protest. That could mean between 12,000 and 15,000 people turn up as many cars will be full."
Speakers are set to include Mr Griffin, Fianna Fáil's John Lahart TD, Independents 4 Change's Thomas Pringle TD, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan and this journalist, who has written extensively on motor insurance.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has been invited to speak, but has not yet responded to the invitation.
Mr Griffin said the aim is to send a message to the Government and the Central Bank that action is needed now to change some of the factors driving premiums up.
He said the protesters were seeking urgent action to address spiralling insurance costs.
The drivers want another task-force set up similar to the Motor Insurance Advisory Board which was established in the 1990s. When its recommendations were implemented it led to a 40pc drop in premiums.
Mr Griffin said drivers want more transparency around the two out of three claims settled by insurers outside the Injuries Board and the courts.
There is a major suspicion that many of these are exaggerated and insurance companies pay up to avoid the expense of defending cases in the courts.
"We also want more monitoring and tougher policing against fraudulent claims, which have a massive impact on honest individuals," he said.
He said drivers were already grappling with the cost of fuel, the cost of tax for pre-2008 cars, issues with the NCT (National Car Test), and the poor quality of the roads.
"But above all, motor insurance is a thorn in the side of motorists."
He said that younger drivers have always paid high premiums but had hoped prices would eventually come down, and called on drivers to stand together to fight for lower premiums.
We want more monitoring and tougher policing against fraudulent claims