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Dublin: 13 °C Friday 1 August, 2014

Shatter rules out exempting jewellery from new insolvency law

The justice minister told the Oireachtas justice committee that “diamond bazooka” engagement rings could not be excluded.

"I can't for the life of me figure why you'd want to exempt major items of ceremonial jewellery," said Alan Shatter,

THE JUSTICE MINISTER Alan Shatter has ruled out allowing jewellery such as wedding or engagement rings to be exempt from the forthcoming overhaul of Ireland’s bankruptcy laws – rejecting opposition proposals to allow indebted people hang onto such rings.

The minister yesterday rejected an amendment to the Personal Insolvency Bill tabled by Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins, who had wanted to insert a legal clause allowing people entering debt settlement proceedings to withhold “one item of jewellery of ceremonial significance” from their assets.

This would mean that people with major debts would be legally allowed to exclude a wedding or engagement ring from any list of assets they were putting together ahead of a court arrangement to sell off some of those assets and repay the debts.

Fianna Fáil said the move would mean people could keep jewellery which had a higher sentimental value than a commercial one – but Shatter said the amendment could permit people to hang on to assets which were much more valuable than the debts they could cover.

“One individual’s €100 ring, that has ceremonial significance, might be another individual’s €200,000 or €300,000 diamond ‘bazooka’ that they regard has having a great deal more ceremony,” the minister said.

We’re talking about debt relief notices and people having debts of no more than €20,000… I can’t for the life of me figure why you’d want to exempt major items of ceremonial jewellery.

Collins withdrew his amendment on the basis that it did not include a limit to the value of the jewellery, but affirmed that another refined amendment would be tabled when the bill returns to the Dáil.

Shatter described the move as “the piercing amendment” as it was being withdrawn.

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