Wednesday, 28 May 2014
Central Bank Bill 2014: Committee and Remaining Stages
I move amendment No. 1:
I am moving the amendment on behalf of Senator Kathryn Reilly, who cannot be here.
In page 3, after line 31, to insert the following:
"(2) All assets transferred under this section shall continue to be burdened with the legal protections attached to them through the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears and the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Act 2004 and shall not be transferred to any entity where these legal protections are not present.".
I thank the Senator for tabling this amendment. While we understand the objective of the amendment and appreciate the importance of it and the role it could play, we will not accept it. A debate on the amendment took place in the Dáil between Deputy Pearse Doherty and the Minister, Deputy Michael Noonan, and I would like to emphasise a number of points in regard to that discussion.
I will look first at the objective of the legislation and of the amendment the Senator put forward. The Government is committed to addressing this issue by bringing forward separate legislation which will focus on the issue of the sale of loan books to unregulated third parties. That legislation will ensure that the protections in the code of conduct on mortgage arrears, CCMA, will continue to apply to mortgages sold to unregulated financial services providers. Since this is such an important issue and, as the Senator is aware, a complicated one which will affect many people, the Government believes the best way to address this is through separate legislation, looking at the issue in its entirely and bringing forward a robust response to it. That legislation is being actively progressed and it will be brought before the Oireachtas as soon as possible.
The current listing of that legislation is down as 2015 but given the seriousness of this matter, which I know is the reason the Senator raised it, the Minister for Finance indicated that he will look to bring this Bill forward in the legislative programme to address this issue. It is his intention that it will be brought before the Houses of the Oireachtas in the next session. While I appreciate and understand the objective of this amendment and given the importance of this issue and the number of people for whom it will have consequences, the Government believes it would be best handled through separate legislation.