Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor, Irish Independent – 26th December 2012
THE number of Irish people adjudicated bankrupts in Ireland and the UK almost doubled this year.
And the numbers are expected to surge this year despite the introduction of personal insolvency laws that allow borrowers to have debts written down subject to strict income guidelines.
A total of 157 Irish citizens were bankrupted in Britain this year compared to 106 last year, an increase of 48pc.
There was also a 49pc increase in the number of bankruptcies in Ireland, from 96 to 143 according to 'Stubbs Gazette'.
James Treacy, managing director of 'Stubbs Gazette', said the credit bureau and debt collection agency was predicting close to 7,000 bankruptcies next year as a result of the reduction in the bankruptcy discharge period from 12 to three years and new laws slashing the costs associated with bankruptcy.
Mr Treacy said that the new personal insolvency regime had "got off to a slow start", with many individuals unable to afford personal insolvency because of diminishing or "disappearing" levels of income.
"Anecdotal evidence, and indeed our own experience as a debt collections agency, indicates that many will simply have no disposable income in excess of the minimum subsistence income levels with which to make a meaningful -- or acceptable, from a creditor point of view -- payment on their debts," said Mr Treacy.
The annual Stubbs review of Irish debt shows the number of judgments registered in the courts fell by 6.5pc, from 6,504 in 2012 to 6,110. But the overall value of judgments obtained by creditors fell by almost 60pc from €1.32bn to €838.9m.
Toxic loans agency NAMA secured the largest court judgment this year, €90.1m, against Blessington developer Kevin McNulty.
The judgment against Mr McNulty related to a 2009 facilities agreement provided by the former Anglo Irish Bank and to personal guarantees allegedly provided by the developer in 1998 and 2003 in relation to the liability of two companies.
The top commercial judgment obtained in the courts, €114m, again by NAMA against businessman John McCann of Loughross Road, Crossmagelen, County Armagh.
The judgment arose from loan and guarantee facilities involving Allied Irish Banks, Anglo Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland which had been taken over by NAMA.