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Fine Gael not keen on Labour proposal to shorten bankruptcy

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Willie Penrose

Willie Penrose

Willie Penrose

Labour wants to cut the duration of bankruptcy terms from three years to one - but Fine Gael is in no rush to agree.

A spokesman for Taoiseach Enda Kenny said bankruptcy had been cut from 12 years to three, in legislation which took effect in 2013.

"There are mixed views about this across Government, not just on a party basis, and we would like to see how the new term beds down and works in practice," the Taoiseach's spokesman said.

Labour's former super junior minister Willie Penrose has framed a private members bill to change the bankruptcy term.

His move follows a number of statements by Tánaiste Joan Burton, saying she favoured reducing the three-year term to oblige banks to engage directly with people in mortgage arrears.

Mr Penrose yesterday said that efforts to help people struggling with debt had not been as effective nor as widespread as he hoped.

"I think, especially in an island of Ireland context, it is time to have the same bankruptcy term in the Republic as applies north of the Border."

However, the bill drafted by Mr Penrose, who is also a barrister, will now go into a lottery of private members' draft laws to see if it makes it on the Dáil agenda.

Even if it does, it is not clear what if any support would come from Labour's Coalition partners. The Taoiseach's spokesman insisted there was no conflict between the parties on the issue. "We want the process helping those in debt, especially mortgage arrears, to become more energised," Mr Kenny's spokesman added.

The Government rejected a Fianna Fáil bill removing the banks veto on new debt deals.

Irish Independent