Fine Gael Galway West TD Seán Kyne yesterday called for the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS ) to be given a more central role in the Personal Insolvency Legislation.
Deputy Kyne’s comments follow on from Parliamentary Questions he submitted to both Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, and Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, on the role and resourcing of MABS and the emergence of new, private ‘debt management’ companies.
“MABS already has a network of support offices in place throughout the country. Its employees are highly experienced at assisting people who are over-indebted or in financial difficulty. More significantly, MABS is the only non-profit, independent agency carrying out such an important service. This is in stark contrast to the emergence of several private companies who offer their services for fees and charges to vulnerable people.
“Ireland was one of the first countries in Europe in which the Government established an impartial, comprehensive and, above all, free-of-charge advice and support service such as MABS. I’m encouraged by Minister Burton’s reply to my Parliamentary Question which highlights the continued Government commitment to this service. €18 million has been allocated to MABS for 2012 and that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has sanctioned the retention of 12 temporary posts for a further two years to support the high quality and vital service MABS provides.
“Furthermore, Minister Shatter has stated that the issue of the regulation or licensing of private debt management companies can be addressed in the Personal Insolvency Bill which is being ‘urgently developed to provide a new framework for settlement and enforcement of debt and personal insolvency’.
“MABS staff already possess the knowledge and experience to help citizens in financial difficulty. Enhancing MABS with its existing network of support and advice centres would be an excellent use of State resources and would considerably help citizens in financial debt