Sunday 24 September 2017

AIB may take part of my salary for two years, says Yates

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

BROADCASTER Ivan Yates says he still risks losing much of his pay to AIB over the next two years, even though he has emerged from bankruptcy in the UK.

In an exclusive interview, the Newstalk radio host admits there were times he felt like a criminal while his UK bankruptcy was being processed.

It comes as the former political heavyweight turned broadcaster joins the Irish Independent's line-up of the country's most insightful commentators and columnists.

The one-time agriculture minister and businessman is the most high-profile bankruptcy exile to return from the UK. He headed to Wales last year in order to have debts to AIB that he regarded as "unpayable" wiped out under the UK's rapid- fire debt resolution system.

Bankruptcy means his debt of €3.69m is now gone, along with all of his former wealth including his claim to his period home and farm outside Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.

Even after all that, he explains it will be two more years before he will regain full control of his financial affairs.

RUBBISHED

In a wide-ranging interview he rubbished claims that his or any bankruptcy is a soft option, saying it was impossible not to feel like a condemned criminal during the process.

That was the reality of living through the highly structured system of sworn statements and interviews, losing control over his personal affairs, and even being made to read aloud the terms of the British Perjury Act.

He is concerned that there is a rising anti-business mood in the country.

"People who are anti-business are anti-Ivan Yates, people who are pro-business are pro-Ivan Yates," he says.

"That anti-business sentiment is very potent now in Ireland, this idea business is synonymous with tax cheat, debt defaulter, non-compliance," he says.

He will use his new column to challenge that sentiment.

And he has his sights set on the banks too over the wedge he thinks they are trying to drive between people who emerged from the financial crash in debt, and those who happened to escape debt free.

"Strategic default is in the eye of the beholder," he says.

And anyway, he adds: "Ireland is too small a country to not have a sense of community."

Full interview: Business week

Irish Independent

Also in Business