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Irish retailers are likely to see a cut in their eye-watering insurance premiums, following major Government reforms.

That was the message from Robert Troy, Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, speaking at the Fed’s annual dinner in Ireland.

He told members gathered in Athlone that he was pleased to have played a part in the first wave of change.

“We have brought in a number of important reforms over the last 12-18 months,” he said. “For personal injuries, compensation pay outs have been reduced by 50 per cent.

“There is now greater competition in the market and perjury is on the statute book for first time.

“We’ve also reformed the duty of care. It was totally on the business owner. It is now going to be about personal responsibility too.

“We want to see the vast majority of personal injuries kept out of the courts, which pushes up premiums. We’re now seeing a 15 per cent reduction in car insurance premiums and 9 per cent for home insurance. Now we want to see reductions for business premiums.”

Mr Troy (Fianna Fail) told members assembled for the first key event since the pandemic began, that ministers recognise that retailers still need support. He listed recent measures such as wage subsidies, a commercial rates waiver and digital vouchers to help traders do more business online.

He added: “The government is aware that retail is worth over £7bn to the economy. I believe it is a very important sector for jobs and the economy, not least in rural areas. You provide a critical service for Ireland, but we are very acutely aware that it is a sector facing many challenges.

“I want to say that this government takes this sector very seriously. It wants to give the necessary support to make it grow.”

There is now a minister responsible for retail, Damien English TD, who has a meeting every second month with representatives from the sector.

Mr Troy urged members at the dinner, in the Hodson Bay Hotel, to take advantage of measures such as grants of up to £40,000 to enable them to do more business online as they compete in an increasingly online world.

He added that the government is currently looking at ways to deal with the fast rising cost of energy. In the meantime, he encouraged members to take advantage of current schemes such as energy audits.

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