Cabinet to give debt think-tank the green light
THE Cabinet is due to sign off today on the make-up of an "expert group" to come up with recommendations on rescue plans for heavily-indebted homeowners. Energy Minister Eamon Ryan has been pushing for the creation of an advisory group to propose solutions for those in arrears. Mr Ryan and Finance Minister Brian Lenihan are due to hold a press conference to announce the creation of the group today, the Irish Independent has learned.
The group is expected to consist of Irish Banking Federation boss Pat Farrell, consumer advocate and founder of the askaboutmoney website, Brendan Burgess; and Paul Joyce of the Free Legal Aid Centres (FLAC). Also on the group will be former KBC Bank boss Tom Foley and representatives from the Financial Regulator and the Money Advice and Budgeting Service.
The group will also include an assistant secretary from each of the departments of Finance, Justice, Environment and Social and Family Affairs.
The group will advise on reform of debt enforcement, including the regulation of debt agencies, and the establishment of a Debt Enforcement Office to remove debt proceedings from the courts.
The Greens believe a fear of debt is hampering recovery as consumers remain wary about spending.
"The whole idea is that we don't want people encumbered by debt and for that to stifle our recovery," Mr Ryan said recently.