An Open Letter to Minister Noonan
Dear Minister Noonan,
For a number of years now, the cost of motoring in Ireland has been steadily increasing. From oil price increases to tax increases and now the shockingly high insurance premiums. It is becoming a real struggle for many to afford to keep a car on the road. In a country where public transport is notoriously unreliable, this is a very real and urgent issue.
Your party ran an election campaign based on a slogan of "keep the recovery going". I must ask, where is this recovery? I have heard whispers that things are better for the upper class in Dublin, but the vast majority of the population have not felt it. This "recovery" is beginning from the top down. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to motorists. Those who can afford newer cars can avail of a lower tax rate, others cannot. Those who can afford newer cars can avail of cheaper car insurance, others cannot. It seems as if the decks are firmly stacked against those of us who have older cars, and it is made nearly impossible for us to break free of this viscous circle.
I ask you, Minister, why is it that an older car which may have lower Co2 emissions than a 161 car, still has to pay higher taxes? Why is it, that an older car which passes the same NCT test as a new car should have to pay higher insurance premiums? Why is it that a person who has many years driving without a single claim should have a premium increase? Does insurance not price risk anymore? are they now pricing opportunity? The purpose of purchasing motor insurance is to insure the driver against risk, if a driver has not given any reason to be considered a higher risk, they should not have to pay a higher premium.
We are no longer paying to insure the risk of motoring. We are paying to cover Setanta, Quinn and likely Enterprise, whose companies who have been wound up. Did the financial regulator or the central bank not see the issues with those companies? If not, someone hasn't done their job. Why should we pay to cover their losses?
We are paying to cover the excessive cost of claims in this country. I was recently told of someone who received a payout of nearly 250,000 for whiplash! Why are claims such as this not being thoroughly investigated? Why should I and others have to pay for people who exaggerate claims? Why should they have an easy life while others struggle to afford their daily commute?
As it stands, Minister, there is a very real danger that a significant percentage of motorists will begin to take the risk of driving uninsured just so they can get to work. You need to urgently address what is fast becoming a national crisis.
Therefore I ask you, why not change the motor tax system so that all cars, not just newer ones, are taxed based on emissions? Why not change the way insurance is done in this country, perhaps look at a "no-fault" system such as they have in New Zealand?
We are tired, Minister. We are frustrated, we are exhausted. We have spent years struggling through austerity, please let us have a piece of the recovery too.