Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (647)

Terence Flanagan


647. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to make deductions from social welfare payments (details supplied) in Dublin 5; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23158/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the Fines (Payment and Recovery) Act 2014 was signed into law by the President on 16 April 2014. The aim of the legislation is to improve the rate of fine default and reduce to the greatest extent possible the use of imprisonment as a sanction for fine default. It provides that the Court imposing a fine shall take into account a person's financial circumstances. It further provides, inter alia, that where a person fails to pay a fine by the due date the Court may make an attachment order to earnings as a means of recovering an unpaid fine. The Act does not, however, provide that the Court may make an attachment order to social welfare payments.

A Project Board is in place to oversee the implementation of the Act and to deal with such issues as the design and development of new systems to support the new payment arrangements. The intention is that the Act will be commenced in stages while necessary regulations are introduced and it is envisaged that the first provision to be commenced later this year will be the provision for payment by instalments.