The cost of insurance and commercial rates are key concerns of small and medium companies across the country, according to a report by the Oireachtas Business Committee published today.

The committee heard from more than 30 organisations for the report, which also points to fears about the rising cost of labour and skills shortages in some sectors such as hospitality and construction.

Launching the findings, chairperson Fianna Fáil TD Mary Butler said the report makes a number of recommendations to address the high cost of insurance for small businesses.

Ms Butler said the committee recommends that where an award exceeds the book of quantum, judges would give a written explanation as to why this is the case.

The book of quantum is a guide for standard insurance payouts.

She also said the committee is calling for measures be taken to tackle insurance fraud and that claimants found by courts to have made false claims should face automatic referrals for prosecution.

"The committee recommends that the Department of Justice examines the Civil Liability Act to address fraudulent evidence being given in court and no action being taken," Ms Butler said.

The committee also recommended that An Garda Síochána should establish an insurance fraud unit.

The report notes that Irish banks' prevailing interest rates and account charges remain significantly higher than European norms, putting Irish businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

It also calls on the Central Bank of Ireland to "take an active role in overseeing the fees charged by banks for the physical handling of cash".