[Sinn Fein]

2 October 2001

End discrimination against young drivers

South Dublin Sinn Fein Councillor Seán Crowe has called on the government to intervene on behalf of young drivers following news that motor insurers are set to increase their rates by a massive 20%.

``A new report from the National Youth Council of Ireland, aptly titled `The Plunder Years', shows that the current cost of motor insurance for young people is unjustified, intolerable and unsustainable,'' said Crowe. ``This is blatant profiteering and discriminates against young people.''

``For example, the NYCI found that a 24-year-old male driver with a full licence for two years and two years' no claims bonus, living in Dublin, was quoted 2,213 to insure a 1998 Fiat Punto. This is ridiculous money for the right to drive. The report also found that many young people are compelled by the high cost of motor insurance to pay in installments, thus incurring a further 18.6% interest.

``Sinn Fein backs the NYCI's call on the government to reduce the cost of motor insurance in Ireland, which is nearly double the EU average, and to cut the prohibitive cost of insurance for young people. A start could be made by doing away with the current 2% government levy on motor insurance premiums. A middle aged driver with a 600 premium may not be affected too much by the levy, but it is serious money for a young driver facing a four-figure insurance bill.

``The reality is that in Ireland today young people are being forced off the roads. Only 6% of our young people drive, compared to 14% in the EU as a whole. This is a form of economic and social discrimination as well as acting as a tax on the economy. The lack of access to a vehicle can exclude candidates from jobs where driving is required and prevent people from taking jobs at locations not served by public transport.

``There is plenty of evidence of effective price fixing within the motor insurance industry. The government should intervene now on behalf of young drivers.''

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