Wednesday 7 December 2016

I want to pay my debts - don't make me bankrupt, pleads dad

Breda Heffernan and Edel O'Connell

Published 28/06/2011 | 05:00

A BUSINESSMAN and father yesterday asked not to be declared bankrupt, saying he was an "honourable person" who had always repaid his debts.

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The Co Wicklow man, who is unemployed and relying on jobseekers' benefit, claimed he had received an assurance from Friends First Finance Ltd that it would not pursue the "bankruptcy route" against him after he began falling behind on repayments of a €45,000 loan.

He told the High Court that he had been unemployed for more than three years and could not meet the repayments.

"I'm an honourable person... prior to becoming unemployed, I always honoured my debts," he said. "I want to pay my debt, I want to be working. I don't, with all due respect, want to be here in court."

The barrister for Friends First Finance rejected the suggestion the company had given an assurance to the businessman that it would not take bankruptcy proceedings.

He added that the defendant had also changed his repayment amounts.

The businessman agreed that he had changed the repayment structure but said he had to take into account reductions in jobseekers' benefit and children's allowance and said paying his mortgage was his priority.

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said she was troubled by the conflict between the two parties on whether or not there was an assurance not to pursue bankruptcy and adjourned the matter until next month.

Meanwhile, a hearing taken by a former executive of Anglo Irish Bank seeking protection from her creditors will also be heard in the High Court next month.

Pauline Doyle, a former director of an Isle of Man subsidiary of Anglo who owes €2m to the bank, had indicated she wished to cross-examine the bank's managing directors about alleged "tax evasion issues".

Orders

However, a brief mention of the case yesterday heard that such a cross-examination may not be pursued when legal submissions are taken on July 21.

Also in the High Court yesterday, five repossession orders were issued in respect of properties in counties Offaly, Tipperary, Galway, Meath and Westmeath. In all cases, a stay of six months was placed on the order.

In one case the court heard that a Co Meath couple drew down a mortgage of €685,000 to buy a house that had now been valued at just €320,000. They are now €65,000 in arrears.

Elsewhere, a father of one who was evicted from his home was among a group of protesters who picketed the offices of a mortgage lender yesterday.

Robert Marsh took out a

€350,000 mortgage from subprime lender Start Mortgages in 2007.

Bankrupt

He ran his own cleaning business but after getting in to financial difficulty was forced to declare bankruptcy and let his five staff go.

"I am bankrupt now and I have no future.

"I attempted to engage with them and offered them €250,000 but they were not interested," he said.

He was evicted from his home in Comeragh Park in Drimnagh, Dublin, and is now living in rented accommodation.

Mr Marsh claimed the interest rate on the loan was so high he could not meet his repayments.

Irish Independent

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