Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath has said confirmation that the public register of those availing of the new insolvency service will appear on the agency’s website will deter some distressed borrowers from availing of the new service.
Deputy McGrath stated, “The Minister for Justice has confirmed that the register of persons who avail of the debt options under the new insolvency service will be placed on the agency’s website. 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.
“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 Minister has confirmed to me in a Dáil reply that he does intend to bring forward amendments including one which will allow debtors who have successfully completed their arrangement to be removed from the public register. This proposed change is welcome but it doesn’t go far enough.
“Thousands of people struggling with unsustainable levels of personal debt are looking to the new insolvency arrangements as a fresh start. However, the fact that family, friends, neighbours and complete strangers will be able to see their name on a published list will cause unnecessary stress and anxiety.
“In my view, a more sensible proposal would be for the proposed new Credit Register to hold information on arrangements entered into under the new insolvency service. This would enable lending bodies to access information on request but would not involve the identity of those availing of the insolvency arrangements being made public.”
The reply from Minister Alan Shatter TD to Deputy McGrath’s parliamentary question is enclosed below.
QUESTION NO: 164
DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Justice and Equality (Mr. Shatter)
by Deputy Michael McGrath
for WRITTEN on Wednesday, 8th May, 2013.
* To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the form the personal insolvency register will take; the information it will contain; if it will be published on the web and if persons remain on the register indefinitely.
– Michael McGrath
Under Section 133 of the Personal Insolvency Act 2012, the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) is required to maintain registers for Debt Relief Notices (DRNs), Debt Settlement Arrangements (DSAs), Personal Insolvency Arrangements (PIAs) and Protective Certificates. The Act states that the Registers must be made available for public inspection. I am advised by the ISI that the Registers will be in electronic format and will be available to view via the ISI website, www.isi.gov.ie. It is intended that only the necessary information will be recorded on the various Registers to fulfil their function. A debtor’s name, address, year of birth and the date of the arrangement coming into effect will be recorded on the Register. The Registers will also contain contact details for Personal Insolvency Practitioners and the ISI.
I am aware of the need to add further relevant provisions in regard to the operation of the Registers and my Department, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, is preparing the necessary amendments for approval by Government and presentation to the Oireachtas in the very near future. It is intended that the relevant amendments will be incorporated in the Courts Bill 2013 which is presently being processed through the Houses of the Oireachtas. It is the intention that where a debtor has successfully completed an arrangement, his/her details will be removed from the public Registers.