Discrimination of cancer survivors completely outrageous

06 February 2023

Labour health spokesperson, Duncan Smith has described the continued discrimination of cancer survivors by the insurance industry as completely outrageous.

Speaking in response to reports in the Business Post of a sustained lobbying campaign by Insurance Ireland to delay legislation to stop insurance companies and banks from financially penalising cancer survivors, Deputy Smith said:

“It seems the insurance industry is hell bent on derailing legislation to end discriminatory penalties levied against cancer survivors. It is completely outrageous. Countries all over the EU are adopting this type of legislation. It is not acceptable for Ireland to be lagging so far behind other so -called progressive nations.

“We know from detailed research carried out by the Irish Cancer Society how regularly cancer survivors are unable to access insurance and financial products. This is despite the industry steadfastly claiming this is only a perception. The data and the life experience of so many survivors tell a different story. That needs to change and change now.

“While the Central Bank (Amendment) Bill gathers dust on the shelf cancer survivors are being actively discriminated against. It is not good enough. This Bill has full cross-party support to prohibit financial service providers from discriminating against survivors of cancer from accessing financial services. The Bill reflects the type of modern and fair legislation that’s already in place in 6 other EU countries. Making it law is the right thing to do. The fact it hasn’t made it past the second stage is absolutely shameful. We cannot let this Government continue to be led by the nose by the insurance industry and fall hook, line and sinker for these delays designed to stave off regulation.”

He added: “I intend on raising this serious matter at the Business Committee in the Oireachtas on Thursday morning (9th February) and put forward a case for this essential Bill to advance to Committee Stage as a matter of real urgency. All viewpoints must be heard and serious action taken to end this discrimination once and for all.”

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