Thursday, 17 December 2015
Bankruptcy (Amendment) Bill 2015: Second Stage
I know what that feels like. On the points Senator Mooney raised, and the statistics he quoted on those in bankruptcy losing their family homes, a small study was carried out by official assignees in respect of initial cases in bankruptcy. It is important to note many of the families had surrendered their homes to the banks before they entered bankruptcy. Certainly, personal insolvency solutions protect the family home better than bankruptcy. The Government has always emphasised the home is at risk in bankruptcy but the 70% statistic needs to be seen in context and may overstate the risks.
With regard to measures taken on mortgage arrears, there is a decline in mortgage arrears exceeding 90 days and 180 days, which is to be welcomed. The most serious category of home mortgage arrears are those which exceed two years, and while arrears remain far higher than we would wish to see there is a clear positive trend. This group of arrears has stopped increasing and the latest quarterly statistics show even the most difficult category of arrears is reducing, which is a welcome indicator. I accept the points made to the effect that more needs to be done.
I appreciate the efforts of individual Senators and Deputies and I thank Senators for their contributions. The Bill is a very important and far-reaching piece of reforming legislation. It is well balanced and will bring immediate practical advantages to many households which have gone through some very dark and difficult years. I welcome the general support of the Bill expressed by Senators.
I again apologise to Senator Mooney for not realising he is sitting behind me. I might have a very short life in politics if I do not realise who is behind me.