It’s Like Getting A Divorce In The 1980s

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Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 16.16.46Without having to drink all that Mateus Rosé.

Anthony Joyce (above), a solicitor dealing with personal insolvency and bankruptcy issues, spoke to Marian Finucane yesterday morning about choosing bankruptcy in the UK.

Marian Finucane: “I don’t know if you heard Ben Dunne [railing against Ireland’s insolvency laws] the other day, he was very, very strong.”

Anthony Joyce: “I did, I listened to him and it was very strong what he…basically telling people was to go to the UK to go bankrupt and to bring their debts to a conclusion that way and use their insolvency legislation to actually just bring it to a conclusion.”

Finucane: “More or less to imitate what..what..the developers..”

Joyce: “Yes, on a smaller scale…and he kept referring to the big developers as the big boys. And he’s sort of saying ‘if it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for you’. And I’m at the forefront of dealing with people in negative equity and mortgage arrears and what I’ve been finding out over the last number of years is that they need a solution. And whenever people come into me, and they have a chance to go to the UK, so they’re mobile, they’re single, or anything like that, I say just ‘go’, ‘do it’, ’emigrate’.”

Finucane: “He was making the point that you know, you put in 15 months pain, if you don’t want to go that is, and if you’ve no desire to live in that jurisdiction, you put in 15 months of pain, rather than 30 years, working for the banks, for something that’s never going to…”

Joyce: “Absolutely. And, you know, we’re getting this personal insolvency legislation, it was passed just before Christmas. We’re now waiting for the Personal Insolvency Service to be set up. It was supposed to be in on the 1st of March, they kicked it back to the 1st of June and now there’s going to be difficulties introducing that. Now, we understand that it may not be the 1st of June either.”

Finucane: “Yeah, can you explain? Because as I, and I didn’t understand that you needed 15 months if you were in Britain. And I thought you needed three years if you were here? But is there a further call after that three years?”

Joyce: “Yeah, this is the sting in the tail. And this is where, again, it’s just legislation that’s been brought in, that any practitioners on the ground realise is not going to work. And it’s a five-year further application by the bank to extend their bankruptcy. So to get, OK, you’re discharged after three years, but after, for another five years, you have to make further payments. And the bank just makes an application. So if you’ve got a large salary, it’s pretty clear that the bank will say ‘look, we’re going go in and look for an application here for a further five years from your salary.”

Finucane: “Well, then what does the discharge mean?”

Joyce: “It means you can become a company director.”

Finucane: “Oh right.”

Joyce: “Or you can borrow again..”

Finucane: “And would you pay the same money, or increased money? Or, if you improved your situation, would they come back to you for more, in the five-year period.”

Joyce: “Yeah, again. This..The difference between Ireland and the UK. In Ireland, it’s a form of punishment. And this attitude is ‘let’s punish the borrower because they made a mistake. In the UK, it’s let’s resolve this. I suppose the way I compare it is the way it was in the 1980s aswell where divorce, it was a case of a divorce in the 1980s was seen as a taboo issue.”

Finucance: “Yeah.”

Joyce: “And now people are being, getting divorced, they’re actually having divorce parties, it’s not so much of a taboo.”

Finucance: “I haven’t been to one of those yet now I have to say.”

Joyce: “And it’s not as much of a taboo. At the moment, in Ireland, there’s a taboo when it comes to actual bankruptcy and the reality is that these, a lot of people were told ‘look, this is the thing to do, buy your house’. And this is why, the profile you would have seen this week of the people who are suffering are those people who are between 41 and 60. You know? It’s not the people that you would have expected, the younger people.”

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