Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (190)

Joe McHugh

Question:

190. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Finance if he will address the concerns of a person (details supplied) in County Antrim whose personal circumstances are changing due to the liquidation of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13029/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy is aware, the legislation surrounding liquidation ranks employees as preferential creditors in respect of certain amounts owing to them on a winding up, including accrued wages and salaries, holiday pay, sick pay, statutory redundancy, pensions contributions and claims for damages arising from accidents. There are standard rules which apply to the distribution of the assets of companies in liquidation and it would not be appropriate for me to interfere with these rules. However the State does intervene to ensure that statutory redundancy is available through the Social Insurance Fund and that arrears of pay, sick pay, holiday pay or pay in lieu of statutory notice (limited to EUR600 per week up to a maximum of eight weeks) are payable from the Insolvency Payments Scheme. The Minister for Social Protection will rank as a preferential creditor of IBRC in respect of any payments made to employees of IBRC from the Social Insurance Fund or the Insolvency Payments Scheme. Any action taken by the Minister which might divert the assets from IBRC creditors to employees could be challenged in the Courts.

The special liquidators were promptly in contact with staff on Thursday 7th February and, unlike in other liquidations, the majority of employees have now been re-hired by the special liquidators, for a minimum period of 3 months, to provide some level of assurance and to ensure an orderly wind-down of the business. In addition, some staff may, in time, be re-hired by NAMA or other purchasers of the assets. This should provide some reassurance to employees.

The Special Liquidators have said that it is their key priority that all employees are fully kept up to date on all developments during the course of the special liquidation. They have indicated that their approach will be to talk with employees directly either in small groups or on a one to one basis and they also plan to communicate by email general updates to employees during the course of the special liquidation.