Local TD Seamus Kirk says many local Louth people are falling victim to unofficial debt advisors and agencies

Deputy Kirk urged the government to accept the new Fianna Fail bill that will make certain all debt advisors are authorised and regulated by the Central Bank

Deputy Kirk urged the government to accept the new Fianna Fail bill that will make certain all debt advisors are authorised and regulated by the Central Bank

Louth Fianna Fáil TD Seamus Kirk says a number of cases have emerged recently in Co Louth of people in serious debt being targeted by unscrupulous cowboy operators claiming to provide easy solutions.

Deputy Kirk said, “Many local people have contacted my office over the past number of months after falling victim to dodgy debt advisors who offered attractive solutions to their debt problems. In many cases, they have signed agreements under false pretences, with some people under the impression that part of their debt would be waived. Instead they have ended up paying exorbitant fees to these advisors and they fall deeper into debt.

“At the moment, the area of debt advisors is not regulated and this has led to a recent surge of unofficial agencies wooing vulnerable people with seemingly attractive offers. The Fianna Fáil Bill would bring in strict controls to stop this from happening. Under our legislation, all debt advisors would be authorised and regulated by the Central Bank.

“Debt Management Advisors have an important role to play in helping distressed borrowers deal with their liabilities. Last year, over 1.5 million Irish people owed money on credit cards or personal loans, so there is a clear need to provide them with proper support. What is completely unacceptable is that this has led to dodgy dealers coming out of the woodwork to target people at their most vulnerable. This sector must be regulated, and the Fianna Fáil Bill contains the legislation to do so.

“I am urging the Government to support this Bill through all stages so we can crack down on cowboy operators and instead provide regulated and transparent support to people in financial difficulty,” said Deputy Kirk.

Fianna Fáil has published legislation to stop bogus debt management agencies from taking advantage of families struggling with debt. The Fianna Fáil Debt Management Advisors Bill, debated in the Dáil this week, has been accepted in principle by the Government.