Sinn Féin backs FLAC call for legislation to deal with personal debt
Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien was today shocked at the 400% increase in queries to the Free Legal Advice Centres surrounding personal debt issues over the last three years.
Deputy O’Brien said:
“This highlights the worry, distress and personal economic nightmare that exists for too many people in our society at the minute.
“The Government must move swiftly to update the legislation that relates to personal debt resolution and provide the necessary resources.
“I have to commend the trojan work being carried out by the Free Legal Advice Centres. This experience at the frontline of dealing with people’s personal debt nightmares adds serious credibility to their calls for a comprehensive ‘dynamic debt settlement system’ and a standardised ‘Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process’.
“Sinn Féin calls on the Minister for Justice to swiftly introduce the promised Personal insolvency Bill. We require a personal insolvency system akin to the Individual Voluntary Arrangements made available in recent years in England or to the type of repayment schemes that exist elsewhere in Europe.
“It is vital that we introduce a non-judicial debt resolution system to save the cost and the personal stigma of the process being carried out publicly in the courts, and most importantly to deal with this problem in a humane way which offers people a future at the other end of it.
“In addition Sinn Féin reiterates our call for greater resources to be made available to the Money Advice and Budgeting Service which are working to facilitate people in these situations. We should explore making financial and credit institutions foot some of the funding that is required by MABS.
“Sinn Féin would also draw attention to the large percentage of calls being made to FLAC around employment law, particularly in relation to redundancies and dismissals. We need to ensure vigilance in protecting the rights of workers during these troubled economic times.” ENDS