It was stark yesterday morning to hear the Independent TD for Wicklow and east Carlow, Stephen Donnelly on radio call on insolvent Irish people to emigrate rather than submit to the new personal insolvency processes. Mind you, it is stark to compare and contrast the new Irish processes and those available in the UK, and it is no surprise at all that more than 20 NAMA developers have thus far filed for bankruptcy outside this jurisdiction. Indeed some like John Fleming, Ray Grehan, Danny Grehan and Michael Doran have already been discharged and are financially reborn after 12 months.
We normally learn of NAMA bankruptcies from journalist Gavin Daly at the Sunday Times but recently creditors have been liaising with the UK courts and the UK Insolvency Service and have been able to act in advance of bankruptcy hearings. We know that publican David Cullen against whom NAMA obtained a €29.1m judgment in March 2013, was set to have a bankruptcy hearing on 9th April, 2013 though he has not yet been recorded as bankrupt at the UK Insolvency Service.
We learned last week that another NAMA debtor John Fraher is seeking to be declared bankrupt in the UK. John has moved to the UK and now lives in Gerrard’s Cross, Buckinghamshire, England a district whose average house price is the most expensive homes in the UK. John’s UK bankruptcy hearing is set to be heard on 17th May 2013, and if he is successful, he should be declared bankrupt soon thereafter. NAMA moved against John in January 2013 and the background to the case is here – in summary NAMA is seeking a €5.5m judgment against the Tipperary businessman who is defending the claim. Last week, the case came before the Commercial Court division of the High Court where the redoubtable Judge Kelly has fast-tracked the matter for an imminent hearing.
This is the list maintained on here of 23 NAMA bankruptcies outside Ireland. The above two would make 25 and that list may well be incomplete. How will this Government justify the still-draconian terms of the new insolvency regime when such large numbers are emigrating for (relatively) quickie bankruptcies?