The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell, T.D., today published the report of the Working Group on Insurance-related issues in the Gender Non-Employment Directive (2004/113/EC). The Group, which was chaired by Mr. Kevin Bonner, was established by the Tánaiste in April 2006 to examine the implications of implementing the EU Directive's principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to, and supply of, goods and services in the insurance and related financial services sectors.

The Tánaiste said: "I welcome this report and I am grateful to Mr. Bonner and the other members of the Working Group for their work in examining the complex issues involved.

The Government has approved the Group's recommendations. This decision means that premiums and benefits may continue to reflect risk. For example, women may continue to benefit from lower motor insurance premiums."

The EU Directive outlaws sex discrimination in the provision of goods and services, including in the provision of insurance and related financial services. However, the Directive also provides that Member States may permit insurance companies to allow proportionate differences in individuals' premiums and benefits if gender is a decisive factor in assessing risk, for example in motor insurance.

The Working Group made a number of recommendations including that Ireland should avail of the derogation. This will allow Ireland to permit differences in:

The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Working Group and has authorised the drafting of legislation for their implementation, by way of amendments to the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2006, which is at present awaiting committee stage in the Dáil.

The full report of the Working Group is published on the Department's website,

17 April 2007