Justice Committee to reconvene in September to consider amendments to the Bill

David Stanton, Fine Gael TD for Cork East and Chair of the Oireachtas Justice Committee has welcomed the progress of the Personal Insolvency Bill since its publication at the end of June. This legislation, when enacted, will fundamentally reform our insolvency laws and should provide a lifeline for those who are struggling with unsustainable debt.

“The Personal Insolvency Bill concluded second stage in the Dail last week. Not only does the bill radically change current insolvency laws but it will also see the automatic discharge period for bankruptcy being reduced from 12 to 3 years, bringing Ireland in line with European norms”, said Deputy Stanton

“I am very pleased that the Justice Committee will reconvene early in September to deal with Committee Stage of the Bill. At Committee Stage members of the Committee will have the opportunity to put forward amendments to the Bill and we would hope to conduct Committee Stage as soon as possible.

“The Personal Insolvency Bill will put in place a number of flexible arrangements to deal with varying levels of debt. They range from Debt Relief Notices which will allow for the full write-off of qualifying debts of up to €20,000 for those who have no assets or income. Debt Settlement Arrangements will deal with unsecured debts of no upper limit over a five year period, while Personal Insolvency Arrangements (PIA) will deal with secured and unsecured debt up to €3 million over six years, with the possibility of this cap being increased while allowing people to remain in the family home.

“The proliferation of reckless lending and the massive inflation of house prices has left many people up to their necks in debt. The provisions of this Bill are designed to meet the needs of those who genuinely cannot repay the debt they have accrued. It does not provide for the automatic write-off of negative equity. Nor does it provide assistance to solvent debtors.

“While the Personal Insolvency Bill provides a number of solutions we would still urge anyone struggling to keep up financially should talk to their lender first in an attempt to come to a payment arrangement that is suitable for both sides. Banks and financial institutions are being encouraged to come to realistic debt settlement arrangements with their debtors, who, in turn, will be shown a way out of their debt problems.

“The Personal Insolvency Bill is very important legislation and forms part of the Programme for Government and the EU/IMF Bailout Programme. I look forward to progressing the Bill through Committee Stage.