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Written Answers - Proposed Legislation

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 374.  Deputy Derek Keating Information on Derek Keating Zoom on Derek Keating  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  his plans to introduce legislation to repeal the current bankruptcy legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5511/12]

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 2012.

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).

[492] 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, and

the establishment of an Insolvency Service to operate the new arrangements.

I have referred the Heads of the Bill to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality for its consideration.

This is a complex area of the law where a careful calibration is required between the rights of debtors and creditors. Legal considerations aside, the economic and financial impact of any policy changes to personal insolvency also require serious deliberation. These matters will continue to be examined by Government in the development of the Bill.

 375.  Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  if there is any legislation in place to regulate cash for gold shops to ensure that all purchased gold has been sourced legally; if there are plans to introduce such legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6614/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The informal purchase of jewellery is not specifically regulated in criminal legislation; however the circumstances under which jewellery is being bought and/or sold may indicate the commission of certain offences, for example handling stolen property and/or possession of stolen property under sections 17 and 18 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001.

My Department is finalising a report on criminal justice aspects of the “Cash for Gold” trade and this report will be submitted to me shortly for consideration. Following consideration of the report I will make an assessment as to what, if any, action, legislative or otherwise, may be required. I will, in due course, make known the report’s findings and any proposals which may arise.


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