Sunday 18 March 2018

Gene Kerrigan: 'I'm sorry for you, it's no consolation, but you are not alone'

So said a judge to a shopkeeper who owes €32m. Gene Kerrigan hears the human stories from a shipwrecked economy

There was a man sitting in the middle of the courtroom, clutching a large notebook stuffed with loose sheets of paper. He was wearing a casual red jacket and an open-necked blue-striped shirt.

He looked like many another hard-working citizen. Maybe a maths teacher, a taxi driver or the manager of a small factory. In fact, he was a shopkeeper. From Castleblaney. And he owes a bank €32m.

Before the court could get to that matter, it had to deal with a dispute over a mere €6m. And, before that, Judge Peter Kelly had to ensure that the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II would not adversely affect an impending court case. This is Court 1 of the Four Courts, where some debris from the shipwrecked economy washes up on the Commercial List.

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