The good news is that there is plenty of room in the rear of trucks and lorries going BACK into North Korea so if you hurry, you might just be able to escape to a less intrusive regime while there’s still time. The bad news is that today, Ireland enhances its reputation as a world laughing stock for its idiocratic public administration with the launch of personal insolvency rules that will see the State setting guidelines for personal expenditure on food, clothes, holidays, cars and in fact, will allow the State peer into every nook-and-cranny of your life. We might laugh at mass displays of boiler-suited communists marching in formation before a baby-faced despot, all with oversized hats and punching the air; they’ll be having a laugh at what we’ve just done. In North Korea they might punish citizens for not looking sad enough when a Dear Leader expires, in Ireland you’re allowed €28.97 per week for so-called “social inclusion activities”.
Ireland has a colossal public and private debt problem. We have an economy that has slipped back into recession, a deficit of over 7%, unemployment of over 14%, emigration of over 80,000 per annum in a country of just 4.6m and the IMF are in keeping a daily watch over our finances. As a country, our gross debt:GDP is forecast to rise to 121% in 2013, our gross debt:GNP is over 140%. Private borrowing ballooned in the last decade partly to fund property acquisition and speculation, partly for consumer spending. The State has taken over most of the banking sector and is now, ultimately, the main creditor for many people. Now the economy has contracted by nearly 10% and the invoice has finally arrived in the post. And we can’t pay.
Up to now, the only avenue available for heavily indebted citizens was a domestic bankruptcy which lasted 12 years and was practically unavailable. Or emigrate and file for bankruptcy elsewhere or live a half-life under the whip-hand of your creditors.
At the end of 2012, we passed into law the Personal Insolvency Act which provides a more modern set of solutions, but the Act has not been commenced yet and won’t be until June. Today, we find out the detail of what the new Act will entail even if it will be another three months before anyone can actually use any of the new processes. The new quango, the Insolvency Service of Ireland has launched its website which provides detail on how the new solutions will work. What will have them rolling in the aisles internationally are the detailed rules on living expenses allowed during the insolvency period which is set between 12 months and 6 years.
The guidelines are here. Here’s an extract.
And yes, of course under “education” they couldn’t even spell “stationery”.
The long-held view on here is that we import a template from an established democracy to allow quick and cheap bankruptcy which is in the interests of our economy generally, not to mention our society. What we have is going to be very expensive with a burgeoning personal insolvency industry and most heavily indebted people will still be better off emigrating. The level of intrusion into peoples’ lives for between 1-6 years is world-beating.