Justice Minister Alan Shatter today joined Lorcan O’Connor, Director of the Insolvency Service of Ireland to announce details of debt solutions available to those struggling with personal debt. The ISI will be in a position to begin accepting applications at the end of June this year.
• Three new debt solutions available – ISI will help restore people who are insolvent to solvency in a fair, transparent and equitable way
• Light at the end of the tunnel – hope for people and families who are in genuine distress and cannot pay their debts
• Within three to six years people who are insolvent can become solvent again, without having to resort to bankruptcy
• Information on the solutions, the Guide to a Reasonable Standard of Living and Reasonable Living Expenses, and Regulations for Practitioners available on the ISI website (www.isi.gov.ie)
• A telephone information line is available for queries: 076 106 4200
• Regulatory framework to be published shortly for the countrywide network of independent practitioners who will work with people in debt
• People in debt and their creditors encouraged to reach agreement on deals where possible, before entering into an insolvency agreement
The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, today joined Mr. Lorcan O’Connor, Director of the Insolvency Service of Ireland to announce details of debt solutions available to those struggling with personal debt, as well as details of the Guide to a Reasonable Standard of Living and Reasonable Living Expenses, and information on Regulations for Practitioners. The Insolvency Service will be in a position to begin accepting applications at the end of June this year. The announcement was made at the launch of the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) Public Information Campaign at Government Buildings.
Speaking today the Minister for Justice Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, said “Behind all of the insolvency statistics, there are real people and real families in genuine distress. They deserve to get a second chance and the opportunity to participate fully in society as they work their way to agreed solutions with their creditors. The three new debt solutions available provide certainty for those crippled with unsustainable debt and will help restore people who are insolvent to solvency in a fair, transparent and equitable way.”
The different debt solutions will depend on the amount of debt involved, individual circumstances, whether there is a mortgage, and whether the debt is secured or unsecured. The Debt Relief Notice (DRN) is for debts up to €20,000; the Debt Settlement Arrangement (DSA) is for unsecured debts of no limit; and the Personal Insolvency Arrangement (PIA) is for unsecured and secured debt. An easy reference guide and scenarios are available on ISI website and will assist people in determining whether they qualify and which solution is most appropriate for their needs.
Director of the Insolvency Service of Ireland, Mr. Lorcan O’Connor added “Our objective is to help restore people who are insolvent to solvency in a fair, transparent and equitable way. We know that people are living in distress. We know the anxiety and the distress that money challenges like this can cause and how they impact on people’s lives. For that reason, we have been focussed on making the new debt solutions available as quickly as possible. The Service will accept application by the end of June.”
Speaking about the Guide to a Reasonable Standard of Living and Reasonable Living Expenses, Mr. O’Connor explained that the guidelines are a modified version of the model developed in Ireland by the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice, and were not designed for the micro-management of people’s expenditure or lifestyle by either the Insolvency Service or by creditors.
“A reasonable standard of living does not mean that a person should live at a luxury level” Mr. O’Connor said. “But nor does it mean that people should be punished and live only at a subsistence level. These guidelines are meant to be flexible. They are a baseline for negotiations and discussions. Our objective is to help people in genuine distress, and to allow them their dignity as they work their way out from under their financial burdens.”
Mr Lorcan O’Connor also spoke about regulations for practitioners. The ISI will put in place a countrywide network of Approved Intermediaries (AIs) and Personal Insolvency Practitioners (PIPs) who will work directly with people in debt. It is likely that that these AIs and PIPs will be solicitors, barristers, accountants and qualified financial advisers. Qualifying criteria will be rigorous and regulations will be published shortly on the authorization and supervision of these practitioners.
Mr. O’Connor urged insolvent debtors intending to apply for insolvency arrangements to continue to work with their creditors. He also urged creditors to address any operational challenges they may face in implementing the new solutions. He finished by saying that it is in all of our interests – in the best interests of society and the economy – for the ISI to achieve its main objective, to restore people who are insolvent to solvency in a fair, transparent and equitable way.