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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 203-207
 Header Item Declarations of Insolvency
 Header Item Debt Resolution Processes
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Asylum Applications
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 800 No. 4

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Written Answers Nos. 203-207

Declarations of Insolvency

 203. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the position of this State recognising bankruptcy declarations in other jurisdictions; and if there are bankruptcy declarations in jurisdictions which this State does not recognise. [19354/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The EU Regulation on insolvency proceedings of 2000, which came into effect in 2002, is a mutual recognition instrument. In determining an application for the opening of an insolvency proceeding, listed in the Annex to the Regulation, for which it would have exclusive power as the primary proceedings of a company or of a natural person, the Regulation requires that a court should determine the centre of main interest of the applicant in the context of assuming jurisdiction.

  Under the EU Insolvency Regulation, Member States recognise bankruptcies in other Member States where the centre of main interest of the debtor is determined to be within that Member State.

  The European Commission in December, 2012 published a proposal to modernise cross-border insolvency law which seeks to make cross-border insolvency proceedings more efficient, benefiting both debtors and creditors throughout the EU. One of the primary aims of the new Regulation will be to give potentially viable companies and entrepreneurs a second chance before being declared insolvent. The proposal also addresses a range of other insolvency issues. Detailed consideration of the provisions contained in the new draft Regulation has now commenced in a Working Group chaired by the Irish Presidency.

  In relation to bankruptcy orders arising outside of the EU, an Irish Court when faced with an application for the recognition of a foreign bankruptcy order will, on basis of comity of nations consider the process in that jurisdiction and decide whether it would recognise such an order were it to be made in this jurisdiction. It would, depending on the circumstances of the particular case, be open to the Court to recognise the foreign bankruptcy order based on evidence produced to the Court.

Debt Resolution Processes

 204. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide an estimate of the number of applications for personal insolvency orders, bankruptcies and debt relief notices that will be made in the State in the first 12 months after the commencement of the Personal Insolvency Act 2012. [19355/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter It is difficult to ascertain the likely demand on the Insolvency Service of Ireland. The tentative estimate of applications for the two main debt resolution processes - the Debt Settlement Arrangement and Personal Insolvency Arrangement - is roughly 15,000 applications plus a further 3,000 to 4,000 applications for Debt Relief Notices in the first full year. In addition, approximately 3,000 bankruptcy applications are expected during this time.

Proposed Legislation

 205. Deputy Paschal Donohoe Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if legislation will be introduced to allow residents the right to light leylandii hedges impacting their own properties;; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19412/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The difficulties experienced by property owners arising from trees and high hedges on neighbouring land were raised in both the Dáil and Seanad during passage of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009. My Department consulted on the matter with the Law Reform Commission, which had been involved in drafting the 2009 Act, and the Commission took the view that unreasonable interference caused by high trees or hedges was a matter in any particular case for tort law or more generally for planning or environmental law.

In England and Wales, for example, complaints about high hedges are dealt with under Part 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. This Act makes provision for local authorities to determine complaints by the owners or occupiers of domestic property who are adversely affected by evergreen hedges over 2 metres high. Broadly similar legislation, i.e. the High Hedges Act (Northern Ireland) 2011, came into operation in Northern Ireland on 31 March 2012. Helpful information notes for hedge owners, complainants and local authorities have been published on the web site of Northern Ireland's Department of the Environment.

The manner in which problems associated with high hedges and trees are resolved in both England and Wales and Northern Ireland demonstrates a clear preference for the resolution of such disputes at local level, preferably by mediation, with recourse to the courts only as a last resort. This is designed to reduce the risk of prolonged and costly litigation, and the risk that court proceedings would leave a legacy of bitterness between neighbours and ill-feeling in the local community. The introduction of such legislation in this jurisdiction would be a matter for the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and his Department.

Under our existing law, a person may be in a position to seek damages or an injunction requiring the cutting of boundary hedges or trees under the tort of nuisance. In order for the nuisance to be actionable, the person would have to show that an easement existed, i.e., whether an easement of light or otherwise, and that there had been a substantial interference with that right.

It is my intention to bring forward a Mediation Bill to promote mediation as a viable, effective and efficient alternative to court proceedings, thereby reducing legal costs and speeding up the resolution of disputes. The legislation, which is currently being drafted, will introduce an obligation on solicitors and barristers to advise any person wishing to commence court proceedings to consider mediation as a means of resolving a dispute before embarking on such proceedings. It will also provide that a court may, following the commencement of proceedings, on its own initiative invite parties to consider mediation and suspend the proceedings to facilitate the mediation process.

Asylum Applications

 206. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will indicate, pending decision under provision section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended), if a decision will issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19457/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter As explained to the Deputy previously, the person concerned is a failed asylum applicant. Arising from the refusal of his asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 31st October, 2000, that the then Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against him. While written representations were submitted by and on behalf of the person concerned, no final decision was made in the case at that time.

Given that there was no further contact from or on behalf of the person concerned for some considerable time, processing of his case was put on hold. However, his case file was re-activated in May, 2008 when correspondence was received from his then legal representative indicating that further representations would follow soon after. However, no further representations were submitted at that time or indeed since.

The position in the State of the person concerned will now be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. Any representations on file will be considered before a final decision is made. Once a decision has been made, this decision, and the consequences of the decision, will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

The Deputy will appreciate that there is no basis for the making of any form of an interim decision in this, or indeed any other, case and, as such, the Deputy and the person concerned should await a substantive decision, of the nature described above, being made.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Departmental Expenditure

 207. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if any of his Department’s 2012 capital expenditure allocation was used for current expenditure purposes last year, the amount used for this purpose; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19213/13]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Department of Defence did not use any of its 2012 capital expenditure allocation of €9.5m (including a capital carryover allocation of €0.5m) for current expenditure purposes.


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