Belfast Telegraph

New service to help Irish people go bankrupt in UK

By Charlie Weston

A new service has been set up to help Irish people go bankrupt in the UK, where the discharge period is far shorter.

Irish Bankruptcy UK is advising people how to declare themselves bankrupt in the UK, so they can crush their Irish debts.

It defended the service, known as bankruptcy tour-ism, on the basis that the laws in the Republic on bankruptcy are so out of date that it was not a realistic option for people.

In the UK, a person can be discharged from bankruptcy in as little as a year.

The Republic's law was recently updated to reduce the discharge period to 12 years, with the possibility that they can apply to be discharged after five years if they meet the expenses of the bankruptcy process and settle with the Revenue.

Now the Republic's government is considering allowing bankrupts to apply to be discharged after three years. This would allow them to control their own finances again.

British solicitor and insolvency expert Steve Thatcher of said 1,392 people a week were declared bankrupt in the UK, compared with just one person every fortnight in Ireland.

"Irish people need to try to overcome the stigma of declaring themselves bankrupt," he said.

He claimed that if the US had the same insolvency regime as here then companies like Ford, Disney and Heinz would never have appeared.

"Even former presidents Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson were bankrupts and Donald Trump has gone bankrupt twice," Mr Thatcher said.

Filing for bankruptcy in Belfast is also an option, however there is only one court in Northern Ireland where people can do so. In August it was revealed bankruptcies in Northern Ireland went up by nearly one-fifth a year.

Statistics from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Industry showed 752 personal insolvencies between April and June, up nearly 9% on the first three months of the year when there were 692 and up 18.2% on the same period in 2010.