Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Select Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality

Personal Insolvency (Amendment) Bill 2014: Committee Stage

2:00 pm

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Justice and Equality; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I have already provided for a complete waiver of all fees payable to the ISI by a person wishing to apply for any of the three statutory debt solutions offered by the ISI introduced by the Personal Insolvency Act. These include the debt relief notice, the debt settlement arrangement or the personal insolvency arrangement. The waiver is in force since October. That being the case, the amendment is not relevant.

There is an issue in regard to the wording of the amendment. It is unclear from it whether it prevents the ISI charging a fee to credit rating agencies or other persons who wish to consult the ISI register. It is also unclear whether it prevents the official assignee in bankruptcy, whose functions are exercised partly under the Personal Insolvency Act, from collecting the remaining contributions to the cost of bringing in an estate at bankruptcy. We have already provided for a reduction of costs to a person entering bankruptcy, from some €1,350 in 2012 to approximately €275. I made these changes towards the end of last year. We have done a lot in terms of fees representing a barrier. I met the CEO of the ISI, who was concerned that the upfront fees were a barrier to people. That is why we waived them, which has been in effect since October. The reduction in the bankruptcy fees is substantial. There are increased numbers using the service.

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