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Insolvent borrowers 'will be named and shamed' online in new system

Fianna Fáil says the public register of people in insolvency procedures could shame people away from participating.

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DISTRESSED BORROWERS who enter the State’s new insolvency regime will have their name and address posted online – raising fears from the opposition that struggling homeowners could be shamed away from engaging in the system.

Justice minister Alan Shatter has confirmed that the Insolvency Service of Ireland will maintain a public register of people who have entered into the various arrangements allowed under the new insolvency laws.

Those laws require the register to be made available to the public, and will be available online.

The registers will include a debtor’s name, address, year of birth and the date on which they entered into the insolvency regime, and contact details for the insolvency practitioner who is supervising their entry into the process.

Names will only be removed from the register after they have left the procedure – which in most cases will take at least three years.

The confirmation has prompted fears from Fianna Fáil that the public register will have a ‘name and shame’ effect on people hoping to avail of the system to work their way out of chrnoic debts.

“I am genuinely concerned that naming distressed borrowers in this way could put off a lot of people overburdened with debts from seeking relief under the new insolvency arrangements,” said the party’s finance spokesman Michael McGrath.

“I cannot see how it is in the public interest to publish online the identity of people who may have had no other option but to avail of one of the debt relief options under the new service.”

The inclusion of names on a public register would allow “family, friends, neighbours and complete strangers” to be aware of a person’s financial distress, he said.

Fianna Fáil has called for an amendment to the rules so that the public register would contain details of the arrangements entered into, but not identify the borrower directly by name.

Read: Personal Insolvency service will be available to gardaí

More: Why you can’t see the ‘black book’ that was never used for the banking crisis

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Gavan Reilly

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