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Developers' body looks to sue banks and policymakers over collapse

IRISH bank bosses, regulators and policymakers are set to be sued for their role in allowing individuals and business to build up millions of property debts they can't repay.

The Irish Property Council -- which represents about 1,000 small-scale property developers, investors and builders -- is preparing to bring a landmark tests case on who should be liable for property debts.

The plan was announced at a meeting of 200 IPC members in Dublin last week, and ads in national newspapers will soon solicit applications from would-be plaintiffs.

"We already have five or six cases we know of that could work -- people who are in dire straights because of the amount they were allowed to borrow," said IPC director Seamas Savage. "We're hoping the ads will prompt more people to come forward."

The IPC has already retained Dublin legal firm Ferry Solicitors to run the case and is trying to raise €250,000 from members to fund the legal costs.

Last week's meeting was told the legal advisors had formed the view that there was a "case to answer" in relation to sharing the responsibility for the property collapse.

The IPC case will argue that "reckless" lending by banks and a "lack or regulation and incompetence" by the state contributed to the current plight of those who borrowed money to fund property ventures.

Mr Savage said that a show of hands revealed that only one of the 200 or so IPC members in attendance was against the case going forward, with the remainder in favour of proceeding.

Irish Independent