Just eleven debt resolutions initiated in court

One applicant given final court approval for debt settlement arrangement

Insolvency Service of Ireland director Lorcan O’Connor. A spokesman for the service said the insolvency system involved a “100-day process”. Photograph: Eric Luke

Only 11 protection certificates for debt resolution arrangements have been issued by the courts since the Insolvency Service of Ireland opened for business in September this year, the latest data from the service shows.

And just one arrangement has been finalised by the courts in what has been a slow start to the new insolvency process.

Debt settlement arrangements (DSAs), personal insolvency arrangements (PIAs) and debt relief notices (DRNs) were introduced under the Personal Insolvency Act 2012.

They are designed for individuals who cannot pay all of their debts but who can contribute something toward them. The arrangements are managed by personal insolvency practitioners (PIPs) 95 of whom are now registered with the insolvency service. The process for both PIAs and DSAs begins with applications to the courts for protection.


Six of the applicants for protection this year were from people seeking PIAs. These involve both secured debts, such as mortgages, and unsecured debts such as credit card debts and personal loans. Four of these involved married couples with family homes in Westmeath and Dublin.

Five courts applications were for DSAs involving unsecured debts of over €20,000, including personal loans and credit card debt.

The 11 applicants were aged in their 30s, 40s and 50s and were from Tipperary, Meath, Wicklow, Donegal, Westmeath and Dublin.

Only one case has so far completed the entire process; a man from Donegal was given final court approval for his debt settlement arrangement on December 18th at Monaghan Circuit Court.

There have yet to be any cases involving debt relief notices, for people with unsecured debts of less than €20,000, though applications are expected in the new year.

A large tranche of DSAs and PIAs are also anticipated before the courts, along with more self-adjudicated bankruptcies, because of a recent reduction in the bankruptcy term from 12 to three years.

Ronan Duffy, of McCambridge Duffy, who acts as a PIP, said the system had been slow to start compared with the UK. He said he had more than 400 cases on hand that look suitable for debt resolutions and he hoped the system would speed up next year.

A spokesman for the insolvency service said the system involved a “100-day process”. From the moment a protection certificate issues, PIPs have 70 days to put a deal together to satisfy the creditors, he said.

Speed up
"You are also involved with the Courts Service and you are involved with the courts calendar," the spokesman pointed out. He also said he believed the process would speed up once systems were bedded in and people became comfortable with them. The service anticipated "a large number of cases flowing through the system" next year, he said.

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland is a crime writer and former Irish Times journalist