Bankruptcy law reform to be included in Bill 'A' list

 

A BILL to reform Ireland’s outdated bankruptcy laws will form a major part of the Government’s legislation programme for the new term.

The “A” list of priority Bills for the spring session contains the Personal Insolvency Bill which will amend Ireland’s antiquated bankruptcy laws and considerably shorten the period of bankruptcy and restrictions from the minimum of 12 years.

Publication of the Bill is a condition imposed by the EU and the IMF as part of the bailout package. A reform last year brought the period of insolvency to five years, where preferential creditors had been satisfied.

Last night Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe said the period of bankruptcy had yet to be decided and the decision of making it less than five years would be one for the Minister and for Cabinet.

In the UK the insolvency period is 12 months. The different treatment of bankruptcy in the two jurisdictions has led to a situation where there were only 29 bankruptcies authorised by the courts in Ireland in 2010, compared to 1,400 in Northern Ireland.

The Fiscal Responsibility Bill, also requires publication this term under the terms of the memorandum of understanding. It provides for major fiscal policy reforms and also puts the Fiscal Advisory Council on a statutory footing.

In all 26 priority Bills have been earmarked for publication by Easter including the HSE Governance Bill. This provides for the alternative governance structures for the health services (including the seven regional bodies) that have already been set out by Minister for Health James Reilly.

Mr Kehoe said last night he was satisfied with the rate of publication in the first nine months of the Government’s term, during which 36 Bills were published. Some 21 Bills out of the 30 allotted were published in the autumn term. “There is significant pressure on the drafting office as there is a huge body of legislation to go through because of the EU-IMF programme. But overall I am pleased,” he said.

Three of the Bills give effect to the Government’s plan to abolish or merge 48 State agencies. The Local Government Services Corporate Bodies Bill will include new powers to facilitate the reorganisation, merger or abolition of State agencies and will allow a county manager to manage more than one local authority.

NEW DÁIL SESSION: WORK IN PROGRESS

Bills expected to be published from the start of the current Dáil session to the beginning of the next session:

Animal Health and Welfare Bill

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill

Children First Bill

Civil Defence (Repeal) Bill

Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Bill

Local Government Services Corporate Bodies (Amendment) Bill

Road Traffic Bill

Motor Vehicle (Duties and Licences) Bill

Betting (Amendment) Bill

Finance Bill

Fiscal Responsibility Bill

Treaty Establishing the

European Stability Mechanism Bill

European Communities Act 1972 (Amendment) Bill

Clotting Factor Concentrates and other Biological Agents Bill

Health and Social Care Professionals (Amendment) Bill

HSE Governance Bill

Temporary Partial Credit Guarantee Bill

Criminal Justice (Withholding Information on Crimes Against Children and Intellectually Disabled Person) Bill

Europol Bill

Mental Capacity Bill

National Vetting Bureau Bill

Personal Insolvency Bill

Spent Convictions Bill

Statute Law Revision Bill

Valuation Act 2001 (Amendment) Bill

Social Welfare and Pensions Bill