A Guide to Personal Insolvency Arrangements (PIA) has been launched by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) today (Friday, December 4).

The guide was launched by IFA National Farm Business Committee chair Rose Mary McDonagh and Martin Stapleton, chairman of the IFA Debt Support Service.

The IFA Debt Support Service was established following the last recession to provide specific support to farmers in arrears, according to the farm organisation.

This confidential service is comprised of an experienced team of IFA volunteers working with professional support to provide assistance to IFA members in financial difficulty.

Commenting, Stapleton said the IFA has worked with over 500 farmers over the last few years. While the numbers in difficulty are reducing, recent weeks have seen an increase in activity from vulture funds since the Covid-19 Payment Breaks came to an end.

“This guide is available on IFA’s website and will serve as a useful resource for farmers in arrears seeking to protect their family home and farmland,” he said.

A PIA is a debt resolution mechanism outlined in the Personal Insolvency Act, which acts as an insolvency solution for people with unsecured and secured debt.

McDonagh added that a PIA can provide a debtor with protection from their creditors and, on completion, a debtor will return to solvency.

At present, the Oireachtas is considering one of two bills which will reform the area of personal insolvency and amend the current eligibility requirements for a PIA. McDonagh said the definition of relevant debt should be expanded to include debt prior to 2015, and debt secured in or over a debtor’s income reliant/core asset.

The IFA Debt Support Service can be contacted, in confidence, at: 1890-924853.