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Sheriff warns against the 'unfair' debt reform proposals

Dublin City's Sheriff Brendan Walsh has cautioned against a rush toward widescale debt forgiveness for borrowers who are struggling to pay massive debts, warning that it would be wrong to introduce new legislation that is unfriendly for people who are entitled to get paid the money they are owed.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Walsh says there is a danger that ordinary, hardworking people who are trying to collect money for work or services provided are being forgotten in this debate.

"People tend to take the view that only the banks suffer, but everyone who is owed money suffers.

"Tradesmen, small builders, architects and professionals have all gotten caught by the big guys. There is much more there for people to worry about.

"They are people with wives and children who have lost money. They are not like bankers, who can still get a bonus," he says.

The Law Reform Commission has been reviewing reforms to the laws governing indebtedness, looking at areas such as bankruptcy to come up with pragmatic solutions for those facing financial ruin.

The sheriff, whose main role is to collect debts for the Revenue and other creditors, has taken a dim view of some of the proposals and has made his views known to the commission.

"The proposed reforms are very debtor-friendly and I find this to be unfair. Today's creditor is tomorrow's debtor. When a big builder goes out of operation this affects ordinary hardworking people and small businesses and they are often overlooked," Mr Walsh says.

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