Recently the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) launched a targeted information campaign for

people struggling with problem debt.

One of these events will take place in Letterkenny on Monday 1st December, at the Mount Errigal Hotel at 7.30pm.

This issue is very topical in Ireland at the moment. Recent figures show there are more than 90,000 mortgages in arrears for 90 days or more. Dealing with problem debt is a daily distress for thousands of people across the country and causes a huge amount of worry. Not only does the person in debt have to struggle with intense feelings of shame, isolation, anger and failure; they also

have to handle the day-to-day realities that living with debt brings.

Since the ISI began accepting applications for debt solutions back in September 2013, numbers have been low.

There are fundamental reasons for people’s unwillingness to engage with insolvency solutions. Over the last two months, the ISI has carried out a

qualitative research study (conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes) with focus groups around the country to find out where this unwillingness comes from.

Results of the research identified some interesting trends, such as people’s absolute commitment to finding their own way out of debt rather

than seeking help. It also showed a lack of awareness about the options available, and insolvency in general.

Taking this feedback on board, the ISI is rolling out an information campaign over the coming months to reach out to the people who need their

help. Central to the campaign is the message that if you’re dealing with problem debt, you’re not alone – there is help available. The campaign will

feature a new user-friendly microsite (www.backontrack.ie) , with videos and personal stories from people who have gone through the insolvency

process successfully. Print and radio ads will run in national and regional media and revised guides to each of the three debt solutions will be

published, presenting the information in a more understandable way.

A major part of the campaign will be a series of ‘townhall’ meetings that the ISI will host with community leaders at different venues around the country to

highlight the solutions. One  of these events will take place in Letterkenny on Monday 1st December, in  the  Mount  Errigal  Hotel.  Lorcan  O’Connor, Director of the ISI will present  to  local  community  groups, public representatives and voluntary organisations  to inform them about the solutions available for people with problem  debt. 

Lorcan will be joined by a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP)  who  acts  as  an  advisor  to  someone  going through an insolvency

process.  To  coincide  with  the  event,  there will be an opportunity for interviews / briefings with media. If you have availability, Lorcan and the

PIP  would be available to meet with you to discuss and provide comments on the information campaign.

 

Debt is a very big topic and can be difficult to break down. The types of issues that came out of the recent focus groups were simple triggers such

as a man not being able to afford new football boots for his son and having to borrow the neighbour’s; parents having to discourage their children from

continuing with sports after school because they couldn’t afford it; a woman having to give up her one pleasure, smoking, because she can no

longer afford a packet of cigarettes.  There’s a huge cohort of normal working-class and middle-class people who are struggling with debt every

day who are often hiding it from their friends and family because they feel ashamed. 

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