FINE Gael Cork South Central Deputy, Jerry Buttimer, has today (Friday) welcomed the publication of the new Personal Insolvency Bill 2012, which will fundamentally reform insolvency laws in Ireland and provide a lifeline for those who are struggling with unsustainable debts.
“This Bill will radically change the face of insolvency law in Ireland and will provide a workable solution to those struggling to cope with unmanageable debt levels. It will also see the automatic discharge period for bankruptcy being reduced from 12 to 3 years, bringing Ireland in line with European norms.
“A number of flexible arrangements have been put in place to deal with varying levels of debt including:
• Debt Relief Notices (DRN) 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 (DSA) will deal with unsecured debts of no upper limit over a five year period.
• 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. The provisions of the PIA are designed specifically to ensure that the struggling debtor remains in his/her family home.
“The proliferation of reckless lending carried out over the last number of years and the massive inflation of house prices has left many in Cork up to their necks in debt. The provisions of this Bill are designed to meet the needs of those who genuinely cannot keep their heads above water. It does not provide for the automatic write-off of negative equity. Nor does it provide assistance to solvent debtors.
“Those who are struggling to keep up financially should talk to their lender 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.
“This Bill provides alternatives to bankruptcy, which should be a final port of call for all involved. We cannot continue to ignore the burden of debt that hangs around the necks of so many. Through this Bill the Government is honouring the commitment made in the Programme for Government and in the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland to deal with personal indebtedness for the people of Cork and all the people of Ireland.”