Value of debt judgments down by a third, but recovery remains 'patchy'
Ireland is recovering from the debt crisis, with the value of judgments approved by the courts last year dropping by a third.
Lenders secured judgments worth €232.1m in connection with unpaid loans last year, compared with €346.7m in 2016.
But the recovery has been described as "patchy", with some parts of the country seeing the volume of debt judgments decline more quickly than others.
A number of areas also saw the overall value of judgments approved by the courts significantly increase.
Newbridge, Dublin 15, Dublin 18, Tralee, Athlone and Westport were among the areas where the value of judgments skyrocketed by several million euro during 2017, compared with the previous year.
While judgments relating to property developments have plunged, the past year also saw an upsurge in moves to pursue debts owed by lawyers, retailers and in the transport and automotive sectors.
The findings have emerged from research conducted by debt analysis experts StubbsGazette and UK technology firm Sagacity Solutions.
More than 500,000 pieces of data gleaned from the courts system were matched with the country's 139 Eircode 'routing key' areas.
The researchers were able to match two-thirds of debt judgments last year with specific postcodes.
Such judgments, once secured, mean that a lender can seek to pursue the borrower's assets to clear the debt.
The researchers found that the number of judgments plunged by 16pc last year, down to 2,760 from 3,288 in 2016, while the overall value of judgments secured against debtors fell by 33pc, year on year.
Nationally, the data revealed that some 41.1pc of debt judgments were against people who described themselves as business people or company directors, down more than 2pc on 2016. Builders accounted for 13.3pc of judgments where occupations were recorded.
In the vast majority of postcode areas, the number and value of judgments decreased.
However, StubbsGazette managing director James Treacy described the national recovery from the debt crisis as "patchy", with several districts bucking the national downward trend and instead recording significant increases in the value of debt judgments.
For example, in Dublin 15, which includes the areas of Clonsilla and Mulhuddart and parts of Castleknock and Finglas, there were 159 judgments valued at more than €9m last year. In 2016, the postcode had judgments valued at just €4.2m.
Over half of the judgments there last year were against people who listed their occupation as 'business person' or 'company director', 9.5pc were builders, while a further 9.5pc worked in transportation.
At €14.3m, the postcode area around Newbridge, Co Kildare, had the highest value of judgments last year, despite only 11 judgments being recorded. The value figure was skewed by a particularly large corporate judgment.
Elsewhere, the value of judgments in Dublin 18, which includes Foxrock, Carrickmines and Leopardstown, rose from €3m in 2016 to more than €8.2m last year.
In Dublin 2, which covers the south inner city, the value of judgments jumped from €2m in 2016 to €6.7m last year.
In the postcode area covering Tralee and Dingle, in Co Kerry, the value of judgments surged from €1.5m in 2016 to almost €5.3m the following year.
In the postcode area covering Athlone and Moate, in Co Westmeath, the value of judgments rose from €1.3m to €4m.
Other surges were seen in the Westport area of Co Mayo (€3.3m in 2017, compared with just €171,995 the previous year); Malahide in Co Dublin (€3.5m last year, up from €971,135 in 2016); Portlaoise, Co Laois, (€2.6m last year, up from €925,523); Thurles, Co Tipperary (€2.6m in 2017, up from €830,132); and Carlow (€2.1m last year, up from €888,631).