Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the confirmation from Insolvency Service Ireland Director Lorcan O’Connor that debtors could face up-front charges is “extremely worrying”.
Speaking today Deputy Doherty said: “I am worried by Mr O’Connor’s confirmation that the new Insolvency Service is powerless to stop the PIPs (Personal Insolvency Practitioners) from charging debtors up-front assessment fees.
“The whole point of the new insolvency system is to allow insolvent people to get their finances in order. The idea that they could face up-front charges before what could ultimately be an unsuccessful process flies in the face of the logic of the insolvency process.
“The new Service entails in its own right up-front charges of €100 to €500. A PIP can then demand a fee on top of this fee of any amount he feels appropriate.
“Sinn Fein has argued that the new insolvency system is flawed because it leaves the banks with the final say. Now, it appears that debtors are open to being charged unspecified and unregulated charges simply to access the service.
“What is needed is a Public Insolvency Service which guarantees access to a PIP to all debtors in need which is free at point of access. The last thing families struggling with debt need is an up-front lump sum to be paid out at the start of what is sure to be a difficult process.”