Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Dáil Éireann Debate
189. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on amending the Bankruptcy Act, 1988 and, in particular to amend the provisions having regard to the current economic climate; if due cognisance will be taken of the provisions introduced in the UK to address hardship, particularly in the context of home repossessions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19173/10]
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): I intend to give early attention to the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission when it finalises its report on Personal Debt Management and Debt Enforcement later this year. And, insofar as they come within the area of responsibility of my Department, I shall also consider as quickly as possible the recommendations of the Commission in its Interim Report that will be published shortly on some early initiatives that it has developed with the assistance of a Working Group.
It is a priority of the Government to ensure, as far as possible, that difficulties in relation to mortgage arrears do not result in legal proceedings for home repossession. The Government is satisfied that mainstream mortgage lenders have adopted a responsible position towards their customers. For the year 2009, total repossessions of home owners by legal process for those institutions covered under the Bank Guarantee Scheme was 28.
In February of this year, the Minister for Finance established the Interdepartmental Mortgage Arrears Group, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Hugh Cooney to examine and report on issues of mortgage arrears and personal debt.
The Group has commenced its work and is meeting on a regular basis. I understand that the emphasis is initially on exploring the feasibility of a range of possible options for improving the level of mortgage support to homeowners who are in difficulty.
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