Exile bankrupts are abusing system
Published 26/01/2012 | 05:00
THE Government is undoubtedly right to reform the bankruptcy laws but the new proposals go too far in some respects to shield people from the consequences of their mistakes.
They do nothing to address the scandal of developers evading their responsibilities by moving abroad.
There is something nauseating about those who bear a huge part of the blame for the crash going bankrupt overseas and then returning to work.
While we cannot stop other jurisdictions from declaring these people bankrupt, there is nothing to stop the authorities here from withdrawing their passports and banishing them from the country that they helped destroy and left in the lurch.
Natural justice demands that wealthy individuals who claim that their businesses are based overseas are forced to live overseas in future.
Many people will dismiss banishment as extreme and some will whine that nationality is a right. They are correct but belonging to a country also entails responsibilities. Those who trashed the place and then fled without making any serious attempt to repay their debts don't belong here.
Banishment has a long tradition; many republics such as Florence and Venice have banished bankrupts in the past along with some religious denominations such as the Quakers.
On Tuesday, Justice Minister Alan Shatter unveiled two pieces of legislation that effectively sell the right to live in Ireland in return for fairly limited investments.
There is nothing new here. Many countries including the United States already do this and previous Irish governments here have effectively sold passports to a rather rum bunch that included the late Osama Bin Laden's brother-in-law Khalid bin Mahfouz.
It seems a shame to sell the right to live in Ireland to anybody who happens to have a large bank account, but it is better than allowing those who destroyed the country to live here despite evading their responsibilities.