'Complex, costly' debt service sees demand fall
The State's Insolvency Service has been dismissed as too complicated and too expensive, after new figures showed a fall in the number of deals that it oversees.
The figures for July, August and September show a fall in the number of bankruptcies, and a drop in court-sanctioned restructures that do not involve mortgage debt.
However, there was a rise of 37 in the number of deals that involve mortgage debt, when compared with the second three months of this year.
A total of 185 of these deals, called personal insolvency arrangements (PIAs), were approved in the July to September period. Since it was set up two years ago, the service has overseen 661 PIAs.
The most recent figures from the Central Bank show that there were 38,000 residential mortgage accounts that are more than two years in arrears, up 1,000 on the year.
The Insolvency Service said the number of people declared bankrupt fell to 83 in the third quarter of this year.
There was a 59pc fall in the number of debt-relief notices and in the number of debt-settlement arrangements, which deal with unsecured debts.
Despite the fall in the overall number of debt-restructuring deals, the Insolvency Service said it was seeing a take-up of alternatives to bankruptcy.
Director of the service Lorcan O'Connor said: "This quarter saw continued growth of 25pc in the number of personal insolvency arrangements.
"However, growth has slowed in other areas. The number of debt-relief notices and bankruptcies has fallen compared to the last quarter."
He said that in the July to September period, there were almost 500 new applications for debt-restructuring deals.
David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation was dismissive of the figures.
"There are alarming insolvency figures for the third quarter. The system is too expensive and too complicated," he said.
He claimed the service is not fit for purpose and is not helping people are at risk of losing their homes.