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PERSONAL INDEBTEDNESS

“Personal indebtedness is at unprecedented levels in Ireland and with lower wages and higher taxes pushing people to the brink, the delay in introducing a modern bankruptcy system is simply storing up trouble further down the road,” writes Gareth Naughton, personal finance editor at The Sunday Tribune.

Naughton brands the lack of action in this area as “crazy” and calls the problem of personal indebtedness the 800lb gorilla in the room ready to stomp all over the bailout plans of the IMF and the EU.

“For every €10,000 we earn, we owe €18,100 – and as the growing number of people going into mortgage arrears simply demonstrates, many of those households are teetering on the blink of financial oblivion,” Naughton writes, in an impassioned plea for immediate reform of our ‘punitive’ bankruptcy laws.

Noeline Blackwell, director general of the Free Legal Advice Centre, said: “We have never had the discussion about what happens when things go wrong. This is not the time to be having this discussion; we should have had this in place before things started to go wrong but, given that this is the reality for us now, we should put in a system that will allow people to cope with their severe over-indebtedness.”

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