Transport was the main talking point for Michael Fiztmaurice on the election trail today.
Speaking this morning he made an innovative proposal to Bus Eireann and Irish Rail which may help increase voter turnout amongst young voters.
“There are thousands of new voters who are eligible to vote in this election for the first time and the vast majority are young people who are in colleges around the country. To introduce discounted fares for one day to allow these young people home to exercise their democratic right would be an innovative gesture from Irish Rail and Bus Eireann. For many years we have heard people bemoaning the fact that young people have no interest in politics, but here is a way that might encourage young first time voters to engage with the democratic process on February 26th.”
“It would not cost too much money and would be good public relations for both semi-state companies” he concluded.
He also commented on today’s report from Insurance Ireland which indicated that the cost of motor insurance is set to rise by 25% this year saying “The new Government will have to step in and tackle this situation which is getting out of hand”
“Private motorists will be paying on average €300 more for their policies in 2016 than they were two years ago according to today’s figures, but the situation for small businesses is even more serious and small hauliers and operators with a small fleet of vehicles are being hammered by these huge increases. The insurance companies must be called in and questioned on why the level of increases are so severe. We are coming to a stage where it is almost impossible for any young person to afford to get insurance to drive a car and many businesses are struggling to pay these huge increases”
“We have also to look at the level of payouts by our courts for claims. It was recently shown that the level of claims here in Ireland is over double what they are in other countries. 80% of motor injury claims in Ireland are for whiplash and the average payout here is €15,000 while in the UK it’s (the equivalent of) €5,000 and on the continent the payout is €2,000. This situation just cannot be allowed to continue” he concluded