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New insolvency guidelines protect banks at borrowers' expense - opposition

Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin have both queried the amount of power left in the hands of the banks in the insolvency regime which was unveiled today.

Fianna Fáil's Niall Collins speaking to the media today
Fianna Fáil's Niall Collins speaking to the media today
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE TWO MAIN opposition parties have criticised the new personal insolvency regime and guidelines issued today saying that they put the balance of power in the hands of the banks.

The Insolvency Service Ireland (ISI) was launched today with guidelines for the personal insolvency regime setting out what is a ‘reasonable’ standard of living for those who avail of the process in a bid to alleviate their debt burden.

Fianna Fáil described the guidelines as a “banker’s charter” while Sinn Féin accused the government of siding with the banks instead of the people.

“These guidelines are a bankers’ solution to people’s problems, to a societal problem,” Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said today.

“They condemn people to live for years hand to mouth because the banks have been so irresponsible with lending and so unresponsive to reasonable restructurings. Yet, once again the banks are rewarded and protected. Once more they have the final say.”

Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on justice, Niall Collins, said that the guidelines ensure that all power remains with the banks during the insolvency process.

“As long as the banks retain a veto, ordinary homeowners will continue to struggle in their efforts to get a fair deal and secure a decent future for their families,” he said.

Collins claimed that the guidelines fall “far short” of what Justice Minister Alan Shatter described as “the best solution”.

However Fianna Fáil has already been criticised by Fine Gael backbencher Regina Doherty who said that the party had “failed to regulate, failed to mitigate the impending property crash and failed to leave behind any sort of plan to deal with the spiralling mortgage arrears problem.”

“When Fianna Fáil was kicked out of Government, it left people in arrears with absolutely no hope,” she said, adding that the insolvency arrangements put forward “sustainable solutions for people to manage their debt”.

Read: Struggling borrowers may have to move house, sell car and change creche to enter new insolvency process

PIC: How much a single person can spend under the new insolvency rules

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Hugh O'Connell

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