Dozen with average debt of €250,000 declared bankrupt

IMHO chief urges reduction of term of bankruptcy from three years to one year

Following adjudication, the Official Assignee takes control of the estates of  applicants declared bankrupt. File photograph: Getty Images

Following adjudication, the Official Assignee takes control of the estates of applicants declared bankrupt. File photograph: Getty Images

 

A dozen people were adjudicated bankrupt on Monday at the High Court.

Ms Justice Caroline Costello made 12 adjudications, having read in advance the relevant documents.

Following adjudication, the Official Assignee takes control of the estates of the applicants.

In addition to the dozen adjudications, the court approved the statutory sitting for a further 16 people who had previously been adjudicated bankrupt.

A statutory sitting involves attendance of creditors to have their debts included in a bankruptcy.

The petitions for bankruptcy were mainly brought on the petition of the individuals themselves, aged mainly in their 30s and early 40s and including a few couples.

The average amount of their debt was some €250,000, with the bulk of monies owed to banks and financial institutions.

Speaking afterwards, David Hall, chief executive of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation, which advised several affected individuals, said many people through “no fault of their own” are seeking to be adjudicated as bankrupts.

Among the individuals represented by the IMHO were a 37-year-old separated public servant who sought to be adjudicated bankrupt with debts of €160,000, and a married couple in their 40s with children, with a debt of €220,000, whose family home had been repossessed.

Mr Hall urged the Government to reduce the term of bankruptcy from three years to one year, a move which has been proposed by the Labour Party. 

‘Supporting the banks’

He said such a reduction would help people in the same situation as those represented by his organisation. He said Fine Gael’s opposition to the move amounted to that party “supporting the banks”. 

Solicitor Sean Foley, who represented nine people in court, said his clients’ debts were between €100,000 and €260,000.

The debts were not built up because of extravagant spending and there were  “no apartments in Marbella or flats in Monaco” held by them, he said.

The adjudication of bankruptcy removed the constant pressure from his clients and the “barrage” of demands applied on them by creditors seeking to be repaid, he added.

One of his clients could not walk down the street of their home town without somebody looking for money from them, he said.

Mr Foley said among those he represented was a mother of a child with special needs whose partner had left her. 

Another was a shopkeeper who had overextended himself by financing the education of family members.

None of his clients had had their homes repossessed but many were “waiting for the knock on the door”.

In the High Court bankruptcy list every Monday, between 12-20 similar bankruptcy adjudications are made.