Government urged to provide more support to people financially impacted by pandemic

The Government is being urged to provide more support to people who are financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Justice Minister today announced that fees for personal insolvency applications will be waived for another three years.

The Insolvency Service of Ireland deals with the applications, helping those in trouble with their debts.

Fees were first removed in 2014 and Justice Minister Helen McEntee says it would be wrong to re-introduce them during the pandemic.

She said the continuance of the waiver of fees for personal insolvency applications “is a small but important step in the Government’s recognition of the real financial difficulties faced by many households”.

The Minister added: “A reintroduction of fees would run contrary to such efforts at a time when many are affected by the economic impact of the COVID pandemic and worried about potential economic risks arising from Brexit.”

‘More assistance required’

David Hall, from the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation, says the move will help people to manage secured and unsecured debts.

He told Newstalk: “It’s a good move for the Minister, she also put forward changes to the legislation to allow for more practical application of the legislation during COVID for face to face meetings to be replaced by Zoom.

“There has been proactivity on behalf of this Minister to make the insolvency system more proactive and more engaging than it had been and taking into account COVID times which is very welcome.”

However, while the waiver is welcome, Mr Hall added that more help is needed for people during the pandemic.

He said: “There’s a lot more assistance required, there’s a lot more engagement with creditors required to have creditors behave themselves and to recognise the fact we’re in a pandemic and there needs to be payment breaks and other such measures given on a more unilateral basis rather than allowed supervise themselves.

“The Central Bank has a huge role to play in ensuring that creditors behave themselves and creditors can’t be trusted.”

The waiver will be re-evaluated in 2023 before it expires on December 31st.