Speaking following the publication of the Personal Insolvency Bill, Sinn Féin finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty TD, welcomed the legislation which he said was long overdue, but said that it was a disappointment to the thousands of families in mortgage distress who were eagerly awaiting it.
Deputy Doherty said:
“When the Scheme of the Bill was published we said that it was essential that the proposed Insolvency Service be independent and that and that a more humane approach to bankruptcy was needed.
“It is a bitter disappointment to find that for the majority of families that are in mortgage distress, the bill provides for the banks having complete power in relation to personal insolvency arrangements.
“Sinn Féin had called for an independent agency empowered to enforce legally binding settlements on debtor and creditor. The only other option open to people in serious arrears is bankruptcy.
“While we welcome the shortening of the bankruptcy term from 12 to three years, we are mindful that anyone entering bankruptcy will lose all their assets, including their home.
“Our position has been that people should be helped to remain living in their homes and that the independent agency examine, on a case-by-case basis, how to make mortgage debt sustainable.
The legislation was published this morning and is over 200 pages long. We will be looking at the fine detail and proposing appropriate amendments.