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Written Answers - Legislative Programme

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 353.  Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality with regard to Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  the insolvency Bill, his plans to ensure that the lenders will have an obligation or incentives to accept them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6269/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The reform of personal insolvency law, the Heads of Bill which I have published, will involve the introduction of three new non-judicial debt settlement systems, subject to relevant conditions in each case. These are as follows:

A Debt Relief Certificate to allow for the full write-off of qualifying unsecured debt up to €20,000, after a one-year moratorium period for debtors with “no assets — no income”;

a Debt Settlement Arrangement for the agreed settlement of unsecured debt of €20,001 and over with two or more creditors;

a Personal Insolvency Arrangement for the agreed settlement of both secured and unsecured debt of €20,001 to €3 million with one or more creditors. The Personal Insolvency Bill will also continue the reform of the Bankruptcy Act 1988, begun in the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 and will include, critically, the introduction of automatic discharge from bankruptcy, subject to certain conditions, after 3 years in place of the current 12 years.

It is not for me to speculate as to the future conduct of any of the participants in an insolvency process. However, I am of the view that new personal insolvency laws, including the bankruptcy law reform, should provide a significant incentive for financial institutions to develop and implement realistic agreements to manage or settle debt with their customers. Such agreements should in time become the norm as the most sensible and cost-effective arrangements, particularly where the issue is one of dealing with repayment difficulties for a single major debt, secured or otherwise. These agreements could include measures to address mortgage arrears.

 354.  Deputy Jerry Buttimer Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  his plans to reform the law on mental capacity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6229/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I refer the Deputy to my response to Question No. 193 of 12 January 2012 in which I said that: “The Government Legislation Programme, published on 11 January 2012, indicates that the Mental Capacity Bill is expected to be published in this session. The Bill will reform the law on mental capacity taking into account the Law Reform Commission’s Report on Vulnerable Adults and the Law. The enactment of new mental capacity legislation is one of the core elements of the remaining work to be completed towards ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”


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