Independent TD Mattie McGrath has given a cautious welcome to a proposal which would exclude the possibility of being jailed for non-payment of debts incurred by water charges. The proposal which is being brought forward by Minister Alan Kelly is being touted as part of a new Government approach to all but unsecured debt:
“While any measure which would remove the threat of jail from a struggling family is to be welcomed, I would have strong reservations about the Ministers real motivation here.
It is far more likely that this government is pre-emptively moving to avoid the political nightmare of having to jail struggling debtors, thereby confirming its image as debt collectors for the European banks and bondholders.
One thing we can absolutely rule out is that this proposal is emerging from a sense of authentic compassion.
We can say that because while it is removing a one specific consequence for inability to pay ones debts, it is doing nothing to prevent the incursions of that same debt.
The minister needs to wake up and realise that the policies he and his Government are pursuing especially in terms of the banks veto on mortgage deals is actually creating genuine financial prisons from which people feel there is no possibility of parole,” concluded Deputy McGrath.