The Government is to introduce emergency legislation to close off a loophole that allowed the purchasers of BUPA Ireland avoid paying multi million euro payments to the VHI

The legislation, which will abolish the three year exemption for new entrants to the health insurance market, is expected to pass all stages tonight.

However both Fine Gael and Labour are opposing it.

The move comes after the Quinn Group, the new owners of BUPA Ireland, sought to take advantage of the three-year exemption which is granted to new entrants.

Last month Quinn Group saved 300 jobs in Co Cork when they bought out BUPAs Irish interests in a €150m deal.

BUPA had said it was withdrawing from the Irish market because it was being forced to make the risk equalisation payments.

The new legislation will have effect from the time it is signed by President Mary McAleese later tonight.

It is understood that the Government made the move before the Quinn Group registered as an entity with the Health Insurance Agency which would have given them rights even in the face of new legislation.