Plans to create a register of all personal injury claims, aimed at tackling insurance fraud, have been halted because of concerns over data protection laws as well as a lack of technology and resources in the courts' system.
It was hoped that a database of all claims before the courts could identify those who were making multiple claims and allow defendants to find out more information about their previous actions.
A register which would contain the name, address, and occupation of each party to a personal injuries action and be made available to those who had a "sufficient interest in seeking access to it" was originally provided for in a law enacted 15 years ago but has never been established.
Efforts to revive this section of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 and to ensure such a database is established were recommended by the Government's working group on the cost of insurance.
However, a review of the law by the Department of Justice, which has been submitted to the Department of Finance, has concluded that activating the register would be "prohibitive at a technical level" and "wasteful of scarce resources".
It also says the 2004 Civil Liability and Courts Act might have to be amended to take in new GDPR rules.
The review states that the section of the legislation, introduced 15 years ago, "was considered to be a means of identifying multiple claimants where dishonesty might be involved" but that it was never commenced.
It said that the Courts Services compiles data across 75 individual databases countrywide and a new system would have to be developed to capture the information as legislated for under the Civil Liabilities Act.
Doing so would be an "unhelpful diversion of resources at this time," the review said.
It said the Courts Service raised "significant concerns" around the implications of such a register for data protection rights."
Michael McGrath, Fianna Fáil's Spokesperson on Finance, said the decision not to set up the register is another setback in efforts to address the rising cost of insurance which is causing huge concern among businesses as well as community and voluntary groups.
Last October the Government said it did not see a "cogent case" for keeping another proposed register, a case-by-case database of claims by the Central Bank.
The insurance industry maintains its own register of personal injury claims which is owned by some but not all insurance companies operating in Ireland.
Fianna Fáil and the Alliance for Insurance Reform have both queried whether it is appropriate for such a databased to be owned by the industry.