Dáil Éireann - Volume 678 - 12 March, 2009
Written Answers. - Proposed Legislation.
Deputy Charlie O’Connor Deputy Charlie O’Connor
 Deputy Charlie O’Connor asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the status of legislation on attachment of earning for financial institutions and unsecured creditors; his views on Court Instalment Orders being effectively worthless in view of the fact that Article 1 and Protocol 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights states that no one should be imprisoned for inability to fulfil a contractual obligation; the status of the Enforcement of Court Orders Bills 1998 and 2007, neither of which were pursued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10569/09]
Deputy Dermot Ahern Deputy Dermot Ahern
Deputy Dermot Ahern: No one is imprisoned for simple inability to pay a civil debt but the law does provide for imprisonment where, following an examination of his means, the debtor refuses to obey a court order to pay the debt.
There are no immediate proposals to amend the law in this area. However, operation of the law is being kept under review in my Department. Moreover, debt enforcement forms part of the work of the Law Reform Commission.
Government policy in this area is also reflected in the significant funding made available to the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) which provides assistance to people on low incomes who need help to cope with debt problems. There are 53 independent companies nationwide with over 240 money advice staff operating the service. MABS National Telephone Helpline has operated since October 2007. Many voluntary and statutory bodies such as the Society of St Vincent de Paul, the Community Welfare Service, the Credit Union Movement, Citizens Information Centres, Centres for the unemployed and local authorities work closely with the programme.
Dáil Éireann 678 Written Answers. Proposed Legislation.