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Written Answers - Proposed Legislation

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 93.  Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  his views on the establishment of an independent debt resolution agency as proposed by the free legal advice centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5520/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Deputy will be aware that, having obtained Government approval for urgent drafting by the Office of the Attorney General and Parliamentary Counsel, I published the text of the General Scheme of the Personal Insolvency Bill on 25 January last.

There is a requirement under the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland to publish the Bill in Quarter 1 of 2012 — since extended to end of April. The Bill will also fulfil the relevant commitment in the Programme for Government.

The Bill will provide for a new framework for settlement of debt and for personal insolvency. The proposed reform will consist of following main elements:

a revised judicial process (bankruptcy) to provide for a 3 year period for automatic discharge from bankruptcy from the current 12 years.

the introduction of a new non-judicial debt settlement process for unsecured debt only amounting to over €20,000 (Debt Settlement Arrangement).

the introduction of a new non-judicial debt settlement process for both secured and unsecured debt amounting to over €20,000 (Personal Insolvency Arrangement) (secured debt will primarily relate to property debt, be it residential, commercial and investment).

the introduction of a new debt forgiveness process (Debt Relief Certificates) for low level indebtedness where the debtor has effectively no income and no assets and has unsecured debts amounting to up to €20,000.

Critical to the operation of the new debt settlement processes will be the establishment of an Insolvency Service. This will be an independent statutory agency.


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