Sunday 4 December 2016

New appeals process for debt deals is 'flawed'

Published 11/07/2015 | 02:30

The Dáil is due to debate the Personal Insolvency (Amendment) Bill 2014 next week
The Dáil is due to debate the Personal Insolvency (Amendment) Bill 2014 next week

Moves by the Government to set up an appeals process when banks turn down reasonable debt deals have been described as flawed.

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The Government promised to remove the veto that banks have over personal insolvency arrangements by giving the courts powers to overrule lenders.

The Dáil is due to debate the Personal Insolvency (Amendment) Bill 2014 next week.

But David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation said the 21-page bill was disappointing and claimed the changes will leave banks in control.

He took issue with the provision that indebted borrowers will only be able to appeal a personal insolvency arrangement (PIA) that has been vetoed by a bank if some creditors have voted in favour of it.

"If all creditors vote no, there can be no appeal. The Government promised to remove the creditor veto where creditors are being unreasonable. They have failed to do this. We have been misled," Mr Hall said.

And the new appeals mechanism only applies to mortgages taken out before the start of this year.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice, where the bill was drafted, said the objective of the amendment was to provide an avenue of appeal, the first time this was put in place.

The Government was planning an "examinership" approach that applies to companies that are in trouble.

There would need to be some support from creditors for a PIA, that was turned down, if it is to be appealed.

"In order to apply to court, the debtor will generally have to show that there is some support from creditors, but the level of support is that which applies in examinership," the department said.

Irish Independent

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