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A record-breaking year of horror for Irish businesses

IT'S been a record-breaking year in Irish business -- for all the wrong reasons.

The 250 receiverships between January and November are already an 11.1 per cent increase on the total number of receiverships last year. Insolvencies also look set to top the 2010 total of 1,525.

But it's the total value of judgments against individuals and businesses made in Irish courts this year which are most alarming. Total judgments in 2010 were €906m, but records are set to be smashed this year.

Judgments against just eight individuals in the last two months total three times last year's entire figure, amounting to €2.976bn. The list of developers hit by court demands over the last few months reads like a who's who of the Celtic Tiger.

Sean Quinn €2.16bn

For years, Sean Quinn cultivated the image of a man whose only indulgence was a €5 game of cards with old friends.

However, the true extent of his gambling has since become apparent and his punt on Anglo has cost him -- and us -- dearly.

Worth an estimated €6bn just a few years ago, the judgments totalling €2.16bn in favour of IBRC (formerly Anglo Irish Bank) have wiped him out.

Ray & Danny Grehan €619m

As Property Development Personality of the Year 2006, Ray Grehan was the poster boy for the Celtic Tiger.

Young, good-looking and loaded, he had it all, including a helicopter licence so he could shuttle himself to important meetings on time. Ray's brother Danny was less well known as the other half of Glenkerrin Homes.

All was rosy in the garden until things took a turn for the worse earlier this year -- and NAMA secured an order of €619m against the property-developing brothers over unpaid loans.

Jim Mansfield €74m

Citywest supremo Jim Mansfield first hit the big time when he snagged a deal to repatriate British military equipment from the Falklands after their reconquest of the islands in the 1980s. Some commentators valued that deal north of £100m.

Until recently, his wealth was valued in the region of €200m and he had a fleet of luxury cars and a trademark helicopter.

But Mansfield was on the receiving end of a €74m judgment in October and that may not be the end of the bad news -- Bank of Scotland Ireland is pursuing him for a further €206m.

Dermot O'Rourke €43m

Property developer Dermot O'Rourke hit the big time when he reportedly pocketed €100m when he and his business partner Gerry Conlan sold Millennium Park in Co Kildare for a whopping €320m in 2006.

But things have not been going so well for O'Rourke recently -- AIB has secured summary judgment orders against him for more than €43m over unpaid loans and guarantees provided. Bank of Scotland Ireland previously secured judgements against him for €16.5m.

John Morrissey €36m

John Morrissey is a former executive of GPA and one of the investors in gaming software group Havok (bought by Intel in 2007 for €78m).

Unfortunately for Morrissey, that same year he set up Capital D to buy and renovate high end properties in Dublin. The timing was disastrous -- the market had peaked and was set to plummet. Earlier this year, Anglo Irish registered judgments of €36m against Morrissey for unpaid loans.

John Walsh €33m

Earlier this year ACC secured a judgement of €33m against John Walsh, over land he purchased in Termonfeckin, Co Louth, Ballyboghil, Co Dublin and Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

Walsh and his associates had planned to develop an entire new village centre and residential units at the site in Termonfeckin -- but it quickly became apparent that with the deterioration in the property market, the plan was a non-runner.

Mick Wallace €19m

Colourful TD Mick Wallace isn't your average property developer. An English & Philosophy graduate, he avoided boom-time trappings like the plague, spending his weekends managing the Wexford Youths soccer team instead of jetting off to St Tropez.

Well known for his outspoken political views and his pink shirts, Wallace was publicly tearful this year when ACC registered a judgment against him for €19m.

Sunday Indo Business