Friday 19 January 2018

Labour and FG to clash at meeting on bankruptcy changes


Taoiseach Enda Kenny pictured with Tanaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton
Taoiseach Enda Kenny pictured with Tanaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton

PUBLIC Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has insisted the Labour Party remains committed to reducing the maximum bankruptcy term as it emerged the proposal is being resisted by senior Fine Gael figures.

Mr Howlin said slashing the term from three years to one would bring the Irish bankruptcy system in line with the UK and the North .

"There is a view that why would some people be able to decant to the United Kingdom for a year and avail of more favourable bankruptcy terms," Mr Howlin said.

But he added that such a move, which is being spear-headed by Labour TD Willie Penrose, is just part of the overall mortgage relief package being thrashed out.


The suite of measures set to be revealed in the coming weeks will be discussed at the meeting of the Government's Economic Management Council (EMC) today, of which Mr Howlin is a member. Ways to deal with Irish Water customers who refuse to pay is also on the agenda.

It was revealed this week that tensions within the coalition have heightened over the bankruptcy proposal.

The Department of Finance is leading the opposition amid fears the move will result in an acceleration of repossessions. Fine Gael sources believe the move will have "little economic benefit".

Speaking on the issue yesterday, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said the Government's focus should be on reforming the personal insolvency proposals.

"I believe we should be concentrating our efforts in how we make sure that arrangements reached through the personal insolvency legislation, that more of those arrangements are reached, that more people have the opportunity to gain access to them," he said.

But several Labour TDs, have suggested that the changes to the bankruptcy law is a "red line issue" for the party.

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