Yates ‘would have preferred to have been dead’ at times during bankruptcy

Former bookie spent days drinking in the UK during process

Former bookmaker and Fine Gael Minister Ivan Yates spent entire days drinking in pubs in Swansea during his period of bankruptcy in the United Kingdom.

Former bookmaker and Fine Gael Minister Ivan Yates spent entire days drinking in pubs in Swansea during his period of bankruptcy in the United Kingdom.

Mon, Sep 2, 2013, 18:26

Former bookmaker and Fine Gael Minister Ivan Yates spent entire days drinking in pubs in Swansea during his period of bankruptcy in the United Kingdom.

Mr Yates, who has now emerged from bankruptcy, said he had been through a harrowing six months during which he “found solace in the bottom of a glass”. He added that on two occasions he felt so low that he would have preferred to have been dead.

He was speaking to Newstalk and RTÉ Radio ahead of his return to work with the former station as a broadcaster next week. Mr Yates left Newstalk last year to deal with bankruptcy issues after his Celtic Bookmakers chain collapsed, owing €6 million.

Today Mr Yates said he had made the error of doubling the size of his betting business, leaving him overexposed when the market began to decline. He said this, coupled with the lack of an internet strategy for the business lead to its downfall.

A personal guarantee signed by himself and his wife left both of them liable for the company’s debts. Looking back , he said he was “utterly foolish and naïve” to sign the guarantee.

He said after that the bank pursued him aggressively. He told the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk that he had attempted to negotiate with AIB, telling them he would sell all of his property except his home and give them 80 cent in the euro, but they refused.

He was told he would lose all his assets as well as his home. His mother’s home will also eventually become the property of the bank. Mr Yates said his wife had been threatened with a judgement of €3.4million.

He added that a parliamentary question tabled in November showed that the only people AIB had taken bankruptcy proceedings against in court up to that point were himself and his wife.

“They’ve destroyed my life,” he said of the bank. “I take responsibility for it but it was their choice to force me into bankruptcy. I feel… a deep sense of shame, what I’ve dragged my 81-year-old mother through, what I’ve dragged my wife and family through. I mean bankruptcy is an indelible stain and stigma on my CV.” Mr Yates survived on his State pension of some €3,000 a month while in Wales.

He said he opted for the British bankruptcy route, from which an individual can be discharged after a year, because the Irish system was “dysfunctional” and “draconian”. When Mr Yates filed for bankruptcy, a person could wait up to 12 years before being discharged from the Irish system.