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Dunne's attitude only adds to upset for debt-ridden

SO, the US bankruptcy courts appear likely to adjudicate the case of another high-profile Irish property developer who has fallen casualty to the craziness of our phoney building boom. Sean Dunne, once dubbed the 'Baron of Ballsbridge', told us yesterday that he filed for bankruptcy on Good Friday in the US State of Connecticut. Judges in Massachusetts have yet to decide the fate of former Anglo Irish Bank boss, David Drumm, who is seeking to be declared bankrupt there.

Mr Dunne yesterday joined Mr Drumm in complaining how much he was unappreciated in his native land where there is spite and vengefulness towards people of enterprise. Mr Dunne also compared his situation to that of the Son of God – but suggested that he could rise again in three years rather than three days.

We know that reality is much different for the 100,000 or so people seeking an overdue release from the economic prison of mortgage arrears. From the emerging details of the new insolvency arrangements, it appears most unlikely that people with big mortgage problems will get a resolution inside anything like three years.

There is understandable anger and frustration at the disparity of treatment for Irish citizens in debt difficulties. The self-serving statements and patent arrogance of people such as Mr Dunne and Mr Drumm are an additional and very real irritant.

There is also a palpable fear that the banks and building societies will take their victims as and where they find them. The banks' paramount aim of recovering as much money as possible may be the main motivator in a process that does not have a referee with real power to defend the borrowers' interest.

The Government's aspiration is that any repossessions that result from the upcoming debt-resolution process will fall mainly on buy-to-let properties. But that may not be the case, as many of these 'buy-to-lets' are not saleable, while many family homes are.

Many of the emerging details of the insolvency processes for distressed home-buyers do not make for encouraging reading.

Many people struggling to keep a roof over their heads face insult and degradation as banks get the right to probe into and dictate the minutiae of people's lives. The contrast in the cases of Messrs Dunne and Drumm is vast and complete. They and many others were very prominent as this country went through a false property boom to the brink of economic ruin.

Irish Independent