Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore today confirmed that the Cabinet
has approved the publication of the Personal Insolvency Bill which it will
publish on Friday. The Taoiseach said it was a radical measure that would allow
those unable to pay their debts to be discharged from bankruptcy in 3 years
rather than 12. It will, Enda Kenny said provide for non-judicial methods of
dealing with debt settlement.
Kenny said banks would have to be more pro-active in dealing with economic
problems which were partially of their own making. Jan O'Sullivan, housing
minister, will give more details on Thursday of the planned mortgage-to-rent
scheme whereby those in difficulties could remain in their house and rent it
back from the financial institution.
The Taoiseach said: “We need to help struggling families who find themselves
under unsustainable levels of mortgage debt. We have to give them some options
whereby they can make a fresh start in their lives.
“Fundamental to our strategy is a radical overhaul of Ireland’s regime for
personal debt insolvency. It will provide clarity on the policy framework for
bankruptcy and debt settlement. The new regime will give a greater balance to
the rights of the borrower and the lender and incentivise both parties to come
to an agreed solution.
“Later this evening, the Government Economic Management Council will meet with
the main banks to brief them on our strategy and to discuss their approach to
“The Government is fulfilling its responsibilities to develop new options for
people in debt distress. The banks must show the country that they can help
resolve the crisis that is partly of their creation.”
The Tánaiste said: “The issue of mortgage arrears is one of the most pressing
economic, social and human problems facing our people. Behind the statistics are
tens of thousands of human stories – of people suffering in many different
ways. From those who are afraid that they may lose their homes, to those who
are put to their pin of their collar every month to pay the mortgage.
“The Government is determined to do everything we can to assist people in
distress, and let them get on with their lives.
“The personal insolvency bill is a mammoth, and ground-breaking piece of
legislation, which is bringing about fundamental change in personal insolvency
law. It will reform the existing law on bankruptcy, and also bring in new forms
of legal protection for people who are in debt, short of full bankruptcy.”
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