UK escape route for our bankruptcy 'tourists'
Published 02/11/2011 | 05:00
A NEW service has been set up to help Irish people go bankrupt in the UK, where the discharge period is far shorter. Irish Bankruptcy UK is advising people how to declare themselves bankrupt in Britain, so they can crush their Irish debts.
It defended the service, known as bankruptcy tourism, on the basis that the laws here on bankruptcy are so out of date that it was not a realistic option for people. In Britain a person can be discharged from bankruptcy in as little as a year.
Here the law was recently updated to reduce the discharge period to 12 years, with the possibility that they can apply to be discharged after five years if they meet the expenses of the bankruptcy process and settle with the Revenue.
Now the Government is considering allowing bankrupts to apply to be discharged after three years. This would allow them to control their own finances again.
British solicitor and insolvency expert Steve Thatcher of IrishBankruptcyUK.ie said 1,392 a week were declared bankrupt in the UK, compared with just one person every fortnight in Ireland.
"Irish people need to try to overcome the stigma of declaring themselves bankrupt; there is no shame any more," he said.
He claimed that if the US had the same insolvency regime as here that companies like Ford, Disney, Heinz and Goodyear would never have appeared.
"Even former presidents Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson were bankrupts and Donald Trump has gone bankrupt twice," Mr Thatcher said.