Difficulties being faced by smaller companies in securing a renewal of their insurance policies at the former Quinn Insurance have been raised in the Seanad.

Labour Senator Jimmy Harte has asked for Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to come to the upper house and explain what was happening at Liberty Insurance, formerly Quinn Insurance.

He said he had been contacted by small businesses which were being refused renewal of their policies, leaving them with just 30 days notice to find alternatives.

Mr Harte said small businesses were being faced with closure and he suspected that Liberty was trying to get "clean business" and "risk-free business".

He called on Mr Noonan to ask the company what were their intentions in Ireland.

Mr Harte said he had been contacted by a company with ten employees which would have to let them go until they could secure new cover from Lloyd's or the European markets where they can be charged "any rate".

He said that small businesses should not be allowed to close down because they could not secure insurance at reasonable rates.