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What is a Debt Relief Notice (DRN)?

A Debt Relief Notice is a solution set up by the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) to assist people with personal debts of less than €20,000, very little or no disposable income and who do not own valuable assets which could be used to reduce their debt.

It gives people protection from creditors and also an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start afresh when the DRN expires as all debts within the DRN are completely discharged at the end of a three year period.

For people worried about having to scrimp on essentials for themselves and their children, this solution can make a real difference as you and your family are guaranteed a reasonable standard of living. 

You will be allocated a monthly allowance that takes into account your personal circumstances and includes money for food, clothing, utility and communication bills, transport, education, health care, childcare and even a modest allowance for savings and contingencies.


Key features-at-a-glance

  • covers debts up to but not exceeding €20,000
  • suitable for people with little disposable income and few assets
  • creditors covered in a DRN can no longer contact you directly
  • agreement lasts for 3 years
  • all debts covered by the DRN will be fully written off after 3 years

In this Guide

How does the Debt Relief Notice Scheme work?

Step one - Obtain professional advice 

If you are considering a Debt Relief Notice, seek professional advice to ensure it is the right debt solution for you. It is not the only option and you must be aware of important restrictions to this solution. You can only apply for a Debt Relief Notice via an Approved Intermediary - you can obtain a list from the Insolvency Service of Ireland website. There is no charge for applying for a DRN. 

Step Two - Compile relevant financial information

You must provide a thorough and honest account of your financial circumstances and assemble all relevant financial records and statements in support of your application. You need to work with your Approved Intermediary to compile a detailed list of your debts, assets, income and outgoings. This information is entered into a Prescribed Financial Statement. You must consent to the ISI obtaining and disclosing relevant personal data.

Step Three - DRN application sent to Court for approval

Your Approved Intermediary will send a Debt Relief Notice application to Court on your behalf.

Step Four - DRN issued and creditors can no longer pursue you

If all the requirements set out by the ISI for this scheme have been met, the Court will approve the application and issue a DRN. Once the DRN has been issued, your creditors are prohibited from pursuing you for repayment of any debts included in the scheme. 

Step Five - Debts discharged at end of scheme

At the end of the three year Debt Relief Notice, all debts included in it will be fully written off and your creditors will be informed that you no longer owe them anything. The ISI will issue a Debt Relief Certificate confirming you have been discharged from your debts. Your details will be removed from the public register and you will be solvent again. 

Why should I enter into a Debt Relief Notice scheme?

  • You have very little prospect of paying off your debts without help
  • You want to be protected from creditors pursuing you for unpaid debt
  • You are struggling to afford even basic essentials for you and your family
  • You are seeking a guaranteed way to get out of debt and make a fresh start 


Advantages of a Debt Relief Notice

  • If you have minimal disposable income and few assets it is the best way to clear debt
  • It removes the stress of creditors pursuing you directly for unpaid debts
  • You and your family will be guaranteed a reasonable standard of living
  • You are free to choose how to spend your living allowance each month
  • After three years all debt in the DRN will be completely written off

Disadvantages of a Debt Relief Notice 

  • An application can only be made through an Approved Intermediary
  • It is a legally binding agreement which must be operated in accordance with regulations set out by the Insolvency Service of Ireland
  • Your name and address will be entered on a public register - however access is limited and your details will be removed when the scheme ends
  • It will impact adversely on your credit rating 

For friendly advice on the right debt solution for you, please contact us on 01 905 3150.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, you need to go through an Approved Intermediary. The Insolvency Service of Ireland maintains a list of authorised Approved Intermediaries which can be accessed via the ISI website. There are currently Approved Intermediaries in 25 Irish counties. You can make an appointment with an Approved Intermediary via the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) by calling the MABS National Helpline.

There is no charge. Approved Intermediaries are not allowed to charge you for help in applying for a Debt Relief Notice and the ISA has waived application fees until the end of 2015.

Credit and store cards, bank overdrafts, personal loans, utility bills, credit union loans.

Yes - you cannot include family maintenance payments that are subject to court orders or court fines related to criminal offences. You also need to obtain creditor consent to include certain other debts including taxes owed to the State, local government charges, local authority rates and service charges due to owners of your flat or house.

Yes. At the end of the three year term, you will be completely discharged from all debts included in the Debt Relief Notice and will be able to make a fresh start without further obligations to the creditors included in the DRN.

No, this solution is for people with lower levels of debt, the €20,000 ceiling is fixed. However, there are alternative solutions open to you. A Debt Settlement Arrangement or Personal Insolvency Arrangement both offer protection from creditors and a way to restructure or write off debt. We would be happy to advise you on the best solution.

No, this solution is not suitable for people with mortgages, even if you are in serious arrears. A home is a substantial asset and this scheme is designed to meet the needs of people with very few assets. Mortgages are classed as secured debt so you may be eligible for a Personal Insolvency Arrangement, which is designed to help people with unmanageable debts that include mortgage debt.

Under the Debt Relief Notice you are entitled to a reasonable standard of living. Provision is made for spending on food, clothing, housing, energy bills, communications, transport, education, healthcare and childcare and there is also a modest allowance for savings and contingencies. Monthly spending allowances will take account of your family circumstances such as how many dependent children you have and also their ages.

The DRN includes a provision to keep your car if it is worth €2,000 or less.

Yes. You are entitled to be discharged before the three year period expires if you have repaid 50% or more of your debts. You are legally obliged to tell the ISI of any significant change in your circumstances such as an increase of €400 per month or more in your income or a money gift of €500 or more and you may be asked to contribute more.

No, this scheme is specifically to help people to resolve personal debt.

If you have been struggling with unmanageable debt prior to obtaining a Debt Relief Notice, your credit rating will already reflect this. Obtaining a Debt Relief Notice is a positive step that shows you are tackling your debt situation and you can start to rebuild your creditworthiness once the scheme ends and your debts are written off.

No, your details are only included in a public Register of Debt Relief Notices until the end of the three year scheme or until you have paid off 50% or more of your debt. At that point your details will be removed from the register.

Carrington Dean

Unit 3 Hays House
High Street
Dublin 24

(01) 905 3150

Opening Hours

Mon: 9:00am - 8:00pm
Tues: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Wed: 9:00am - 8:00pm
Thu: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Fri: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

© 2017 Carrington Dean (Ireland). All rights reserved.

Carrington Dean (Ireland) Limited is a Limited Company registered in Ireland, registered number 537533

Registered office - Unit 3 Hays House High Street Tallaght , Dublin 24

Peter Dean of Carrington Dean Ireland is authorised by the Insolvency Service of Ireland to carry on practice as a personal insolvency practitioner. Peter Dean is also authorised to act as an insolvency practitioner by Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.