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26 March 2023  

Dr Conor Cashman

Dr Conor Cashman

Dr Conor Cashman

Dr Conor Cashman is a Lecturer in the School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork.

Conor’s PhD research, funded by the Irish Research Council, examined the nature of risk, responsibility, and power within the regulation of Ireland’s financial services industry, focusing on the evolution of consumer protection regulations before, during, and after the 2008 financial crisis. Conor’s research interests include financialisation and perspectives on risk, regulatory policy, consumer responsibilisation and debt, and neo-institutional theory. His research includes using qualitative methods to analyse the implementation and impact of regulations. The NUI Grant Scheme for Early Career Academics offered an opportunity to further consider how citizens’ personal debt was dealt with during the Covid-19 pandemic and if regulatory responses had evolved since the global financial crisis.

Symposium supported by the NUI Grant Scheme:

Dr Cashman was awarded an NUI Grant for Early Career Academics to host a symposium in University College Cork on the Treatment of Personal Debt in Ireland and the United Kingdom during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The symposium focused on the operation and nature of ‘payment breaks / debt moratoria’ during the pandemic. It sought to understand how regulators and the financial industry in Ireland and the United Kingdom dealt with payment breaks, who availed of the payment breaks, and how people experiencing financial hardship were and are impacted by these arrangements. The symposium engaged researchers and advocacy groups in Ireland and the United Kingdom by discussing research and experience regarding the operation and effect of payment breaks. The symposium also contextualised the nature and impact of both countries’ policy and regulatory responses to Covid-19 and personal debt, asking:

  • how are Covid-19-related payment breaks different to the ‘solutions’ offered in response to the financial crisis of 2008 (including the nature of products and borrower profiles involved)?
  • how / if regulatory responses to Covid-19 balanced wider systemic risks with consumer protection obligations?
  • are individualised, ‘case-by-case’ debt assessment processes (established before the pandemic) being reconsidered in response to wider and unfolding risks facing borrowers?