'I'm no longer insolvent, but the process was infuriating, a chaotic period and exhausting'
Des Cahill (45) has thrown more than 6,000 parties and it made him broke. "I set up my own butcher shop and catering business at the age of 21 and we've catered for thousands of events in Cork. In 2005 I tendered for a big contract which didn't work out and lost €110,000. The crash meant that by 2008 sales were down 40pc and even though we cut costs and had paid all our taxes, it became overwhelming and the bank refused to negotiate. With Christmas looming I was afraid to accept orders with my credit gone."
Des, also a city councilor, and wife Ankie, a teacher, were making ends meet - just - and were grateful the mortgage on their house, which was being paid, was with a different bank. But it didn't put his mind at ease. "There was a lot of pressure; I was afraid the house would be on the line and we just didn't know how they would react."
The bank went for full foreclosure of the company, and wanted Des to go bankrupt. "I contacted a PIP, Alan McGee, who told me that I was insolvent. The good thing was he took everything from there and the legal letters stopped.
"I closed the shop, informed staff and ran stocks down. I met with suppliers, I even gave one of them my car. The PIP arranged the creditors meeting, but it was vetoed by the bank. Luckily, their paperwork wasn't in order and I got my PIA. It means I had to pay a certain amount back for five years, but I've since paid it off and am no longer insolvent.
"The process was infuriating, a chaotic period and exhausting, but even though I could start a business again, my appetite wouldn't be there. The last few years have been pretty bleak, but one positive thing is that as a public representative, I can really relate to others in the same positon. My name is being put forward for the position of Lord Mayor in June and I'm hopeful of my colleagues' support".