The CEO of the Insolvency Service of Ireland, Lorcan O’Connor says that the Master of the High Court Edmund Honohan was “wrong” when he described the Abhaile service as “a sick joke.”
Mr Honohan had said the service was “merely a voucher for €200 worth of legal advice before you go to the Circuit Court”.
He had been responding to advice given by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that people in mortgage arrears should avail of the Abhaile service.
Mr O’Connor told RTE’s Morning Ireland that the 95% success rate of the service was proof of its important role.
More than 11,600 borrowers received advice and support from Abhaile, the State’s mortgage arrears and debt resolution service over a two-year period, according to a recent report.
The Department of Justice and Equality, and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, who co-ordinate the scheme, published annual reports reviewing the take up and outcomes of Abhaile between July 2016 and June 2018.
Over that time, 11,695 borrowers received financial advice and negotiation support either from a personal insolvency practitioner (5,154 households) or a dedicated mortgage arrears adviser (4,960 households).
As of July 2018, around 30% of the borrowers who had engaged with Abhaile had a solution in place or on trial.
A further 53% of borrowers who had engaged with the scheme (6,148) were still in their homes and receiving support from a financial adviser to get reach a solution.
Mr O’Connor said he would like to see the figure of those still in their homes at a higher level. He advised anyone in mortgage arrears to contact the service for assistance.