Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Dara Calleary has called on the Government to reconsider the Fianna Fáil Family Home Bill to ensure that the protection of the family home is a top priority in new insolvency arrangements.
Deputy Calleary is a member of the Oireachtas Justice Committee that published a report today on the Personal Insolvency Bill.
Deputy Calleary commented, “The principle recommendation of this report is that the family home should be protected in the creation of new bankruptcy legislation and insolvency arrangements. I strongly agree with my colleagues in the Justice Committee that the family home should be treated separately to any other properties, such as investment properties or holiday homes.
“In July, Fianna Fáil published a radical package of measures to protect the family home and begin to tackle the growing personal debt crisis in this country. This included legislation to prevent families in serious mortgage difficulty from losing their homes. The Family Home Bill enjoyed the full support of New Beginning and the Free Legal Advice Centre. Unfortunately, it was not supported by Fine Gael and Labour.
“I am calling on the Government to take another look at this Bill and to consider including some of our proposals in their arrangements to overhaul the State’s bankruptcy laws and insolvency arrangements. Fianna Fáil is committed to tackling the deepening mortgage crisis in this country and we want to work with the Government to introduce measures that will make a real difference to families in difficulty.
“The Justice Committee has also raised concerns about unreasonable behaviour from some financial institutions that are unwilling to engage constructively with customers in difficulty to renegotiate their debt. Fianna Fáil believes that we need an independent body to ensure that customers of all financial institutions are treated fairly in this regard. We have published legislation to establish a Debt Settlement and Mortgage Resolution Office so that it is not left up to the banks alone to dictate the terms of any negotiation of debt with customers in serious financial difficulty.
“The country’s bankruptcy legislation is outdated and needs substantial reform. There is cross-party recognition of the fact that we must provide more support to families at risk of losing their home and people in serious financial difficulty.”