News & Events

Speech by Minister Dara Calleary TD, Injuries Resolution Board Conference 2024 – 20 years on the changing personal injuries environment

Clayton Hotel Event Centre,

Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2

9 May 2024


Opening remarks

Thank you, Rosalind for your introduction and welcome.

It is a privilege to be here with you all today - at the Injuries Resolution Board Conference 2024.

I want to particularly thank Rosalind Carroll, (CEO, Injuries Resolution Board) and Dermot Divilly (Chairperson, Injuries Resolution Board) and indeed all the Board members for inviting me here today.

Today’s conference provides a terrific opportunity for stakeholders from across the personal injuries environment in Ireland and abroad to come together and consider future opportunities and challenges.

The recent landmark judgment of the Supreme Court in relation to the Personal Injury Guidelines now provides much needed certainty and consistency for personal injury claims in this country.

 I know that this will be a subject for discussion throughout the day.

I firstly want to thank all of our invited conference speakers, some of whom have travelled to be here today including Tony Allen, Shelley Lopez, Lauryn Kerr, Genevieve Grant, Maureen Gallagher, Una Cassidy and Gerard O’Neill for giving of their time to come and speak to us.

I have no doubt that the presentations and panel discussions with the leading experts in their chosen fields will be topical and informative and will generate debate.

Most importantly, today is a day of celebration as we mark twenty years since the establishment of the Injuries Resolution  Board– previously known as the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB).

The Injuries Resolution Board title reflects the new mediation function for the organisation and its ability to seek resolution between parties. 

Establishment of PIAB

The Injuries Resolution Board has, over 20 years, assessed (180,000 claims) and made awards (€2 billion) for personal injury claims in Ireland.

As we all know, behind every claim, is a person.

The Board deals with claims from across the spectrum – from the person who has had a minor incident and makes a full recovery to those who sadly, can be catastrophically impacted through injury.

I can safely say that the importance of the Injuries  Resolution Board to provide a vital, yet humane service for people at what can be a very vulnerable time cannot be overstated.

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act in 2003 had a primary policy objective to put in place an alternative to the costly, time consuming and stressful process of litigation for those involved in personal injury claims.

In April 2004 under the aegis of my department – the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, PIAB was established to support an independent, prompt, fair and transparent assessment of personal injury claims for those personally impacted and for the benefit of society as a whole.

Twenty years on and the personal injuries landscape in Ireland is much changed.

It is testament to the diligence of all the staff, working in collaboration with my officials, that the Injuries Resolution Board has met and continues to meet its objectives, so well over the last two decades.

As well as those currently working in the Injuries Resolution Board, I would also like to thank those that no longer work in the organisation – too many to mention individually today – having either retired or moved on to new roles – for their contribution to the shaping of the organisation and the successful delivery of its mission over the last 20 years.

Each of them have each played their part in contributing to the delivery of the organisation’s mission throughout their careers.

And for that I say thank you. 

Leadership at the Injuries Resolution Board

Of course, all good teams require good leadership.

And I am pleased to say that the organisation has been fortunate to have had the benefit of good leadership both at executive and board level.

Most importantly, this continues today, and I want to commend Dermot Divilly as Chairperson and all the board members for continuing to not only realise, but build upon the vision set out for the organisation in 2004.

However, Dermot’s tenure as Chair is ending shortly and suffice to say -  he will be missed.

He has stewarded the organisation through  a period of momentous change.

The Board has dealt impressively with the challenges that have come its way over recent years.

These included dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the introduction of the Personal Injuries Guidelines, numerous legal challenges, and the insurance reform programme.

I want to acknowledge Dermot’s significant contribution to the organisation in the past ten years and all that he has achieved.

He can be proud of the legacy he leaves behind and be assured that he has set a high bar for the new Chair.

Together with my officials, I engage with Rosalind and her team on an ongoing basis, and I want to compliment them on their high standard of work and professionalism.

In particular I want to recognise the commitment and dedication that Rosalind as CEO has made to the work of the Injuries Board as she and her team continue to strengthen and reform the organisation. 

Action Plan for Insurance Reform 

Personal Injuries Resolution Board Act 2022

In December 2020 Government published our ‘Action Plan for Insurance Reform’ which set out sixty-six actions to make Ireland’s insurance sector more competitive and consumer friendly.

The enhancement and reform of the Injuries Resolution Board was one of the principal actions in that Action Plan alongside development of the Personal Injuries Guidelines.

The Insurance Reform Programme is now largely complete with the introduction of the new Duty of Care legislation last year, but the work of Government and all stakeholders must continue.

 I sit on the Cabinet Committee Sub-Group on Insurance Reform chaired by the Tánaiste, and we continue to meet to review developments in the sector, monitor price changes and actively engage with stakeholders to resolve issues in the market.

Since taking office I have prioritised the reform of the Board, with the overarching aim to have more claims settled through the agency.

To meet this goal, I enacted the Personal Injuries Resolution Board Act in December 2022, and commenced the Act over three phases in 2023.

The Act transforms the Board. It enables it to retain more cases, gives it an important data gathering and reporting role, and crucially it introduces mediation as a means for resolving injury claims.

While bringing the Bill through the Oireachtas I was struck by the widespread support for the work of the Board and the desire to strengthen the agency.


In particular, the introduction of a mediation service by the Board is a seismic change for the resolution of injury claims in our country.

Mediation is widely recognised as an effective way of resolving disputes quickly and in a cost-effective manner.

It helps parties reach a mutually acceptable solution without having to endure a  a stressful and costly litigation process.

Mediation is being introduced on a phased basis and the Board now has a high-level panel of mediators in place to conduct this important work.

I commenced legislation for mediation for employer liability injury claims last December.

And it gave me further pleasure yesterday to commence legislation for mediation for public liability injury claims.

I intend to commence mediation for motor liability claims later this year.

The service is still in its infancy, and of course it will take time for  trends to emerge.

But already initial engagement with employer liability claims has been positive.

Provisional figures indicate some 37% of claimants so far are opting for mediation.

This is a strong and positive initial response and bodes well for the introduction of public liability and motor liability claims.

Personal Injury Guidelines

The Personal Injury Guidelines, introduced under the Insurance Reform Programme were developed to address the fact that the amount of damages for personal injury claims awarded by the Courts in Ireland was significantly higher than those in other neighbouring common law jurisdictions.

The Personal Injury Guidelines were adopted by the Judicial Council in 2021. The Guidelines changed the amounts of general damages to be awarded by the Courts and by PIAB. Both must have regard to the Guidelines and must explain where awards  deviate from the Guidelines.

The Central Bank’s recent ‘National Claims Information Database - Employers’ and Public Liability Report’ shows that in 2022 the average cost of injury claims that settled through the Board, under the Injuries Guidelines, was 33% lower in comparison to the average cost of claims settled by PIAB in 2020 before the Personal Injury Guidelines were introduced.

The Injuries Guidelines, being applied by a strengthened Injuries Resolution Board, and of course the courts, creates a system that is more stable for insurers and easier for consumers to navigate, as well as being faster and more cost effective for all.

Impact of the Injuries Resolution Board

The Board’s work annually saves tens of millions of euros which would otherwise be paid in processing costs by the parties, and ultimately by policyholders.

In dealing with injury claims the Board also frees up the Courts to deal with other pressing matters.

From its early days the agency has been effective. In 2007, just three years after establishment, the Board was already making 5,000 injury awards per year with a value of €102 million.

The Board now manages over 20,000 injury claim applications a year.

The Central Bank’s reporting under the NCID each year highlights that claims settled through the Board are settled much faster and have much lower legal costs than those settled through litigation.

The savings in costs are significant. The agency’s work in 2022 directly generated €40 million in savings that would otherwise have been spent on progressing claims through the litigation system.

We have already seen the average Board award decrease significantly. The average award for 2022 fell 34 per cent to less than €15,900 from 2020, before the guidelines came into effect.

We have seen the consent rate from Respondents for a Board assessment rise from 55% in 2019 up to 70% in 2022 and continues at that level.

While there was a drop in the acceptance rate for a Board award following the introduction of the Injuries Guidelines in 2021, that acceptance rate has recovered with the latest data showing acceptance rates at 50% and moving back to the pre-guidelines figure of 51%.

This positive trend should be reinforced following the recent judgement of the Supreme Court that the Guidelines are legally binding, which brings certainty on the matter.

Future of the Board

Looking to the future, the Board will continue to have my full support and that of my Department as it continues to strengthen and expand.

We will continue to work together to further the roll out of mediation to motor liability injury claims later this year.

The Board has embarked on an ambitious Digital Transformation Project to support its new functions which will see substantial investment in its digital platforms and systems.

This will transform customer service and improve the speed and access to the Board’s services.

As mediation beds in I believe it will have a substantial impact on resolving claims without the need for litigation.

I also expect to see continued high-quality reporting from the Board, providing invaluable information to stakeholders across the various sectors and to the public.

Through this data gathering and research I expect that we can further understand the personal injuries environment which will be of benefit to society, business and all prospective entrants to the insurance market.

Closing remarks

In conclusion, great progress has been made in the reform of the personal injuries area.

The Government committed to playing its part and has delivered on this through reform, investment, and legislative change.

However, the next step in this journey is contingent on the support and implementation by all stakeholders – not just the State. 

Supporting the work of the Injuries Resolution Board, underpinned by the certainty of the Personal Injury Guidelines, is particularly important.

The Central Bank’s reporting makes it clear to claimants, respondents, and their representatives the benefits of settling claims through the Board.

In conclusion, I want to again emphasise that we all need to play our individual part – the State, the legal sector, the insurance sector, the claimants, and respondents and give our full support to  the Public Injuries Guidelines.

Through collectively believing in the Personal Injury Guidelines and their application we can ensure that a transparent personal injuries environment exists in our country where:

  • the need of the individual is considered,
  • robust standards are upheld for all involved,
  • and there is fairness in the insurance sector where nobody is disadvantaged.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.