Dáil passes Bill ending six–year–cut off rule on financial complaints

Sinn Féin Bill will ‘open the doors of justice to many individuals’, says Pearse Doherty

Pearse Doherty said previously thousands of consumers had been prevented from having their complaint heard. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Pearse Doherty said previously thousands of consumers had been prevented from having their complaint heard. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

A Sinn Féin Bill ending the rule preventing the Financial Services Ombudsman from hearing complaints about financial products sold more than six years from the date of complaint has passed in the Dáil.

Party finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said previously thousands of consumers had been prevented from having their complaint heard because of the so-called six-year rule.

“This legislation will open the doors of justice to many individuals who believe there has been wrongdoing carried out against them by large financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies in the sale of long-term financial products,’’ he added.

Mr Doherty said the Bill was retrospective and individuals who had made a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman, which it was not able to hear because of the six-year rule, would be able to resubmit their application as soon as President Michael D Higgins signed the Bill into law.

He said the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland (Amendment)Bill would strengthen the functions of the Financial Services Ombudsman and the consumer complaint procedure.

“I thank the Government for co-operating with me during the passage of the legislation,’’ he added.

At its core, he said, the legislation was about the merger of two offices, the ombudsman’s office and the Pensions Ombudsman’s office.

“It is important to say the core element of the Bill is the six-year rule,’’ Mr Doherty added.

He said he was delighted the Bill had passed both House of the Oireachtas and would now go to the President.

Thousands of people, said Mr Doherty, were denied access to justice each year because of the six-year rule.

Fianna Fáil spokesman Michael McGrath said he welcomed the passing of the Bill.

“From our point of view, from a consumer perspective, the key issue is the six-year rule,’’ he added.