18 November 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

A District Court judge has warned the banks that he will not be granting them “large instalment orders” in cases where it is obvious that debtors cannot afford the repayments being sought.
Judge Sean MacBride made his comments at Monaghan District Court on Monday while dealing with a significant number of civil and enforcement summonses. Almost 40 such cases were on the list, in many instances reflecting the impact of the recession and the resultant financial difficulties in which individuals and companies are finding themselves.
While dealing with a case in which Ulster Bank (Ireland) Ltd was seeking an instalment of €700 per month from a debtor in the north Monaghan area towards repayment of a sum in excess of €40,000, Judge MacBride told a solicitor acting as agent for the bank’s legal representatives that there was “not a chance” that he would grant any such amount.
“They can go whistle for it,” Judge MacBride said.
The judge suggested that it was time for the likes of Ulster Bank and Danske Bank A/S (trading as National Irish Bank), and indeed the other banks, to “begin to see the real world”.
Remarking that, “when times were good they were throwing money like confetti at an Italian wedding at people who couldn’t afford to pay loans,” Judge MacBride said the banks were now expecting the courts to give out large instalment orders.
But they could “forget about it”, as he had no sympathy for them.
Adjourning the case before the court to 12th December, he said any repayments order granted at that stage would be in the region of about €100 per month if the respondent could pay for it, but would not be more than €50 a month if the person concerned showed themselves to be in difficulties.
A separate order for €200 per month, in respect of a debt listed as amounting to over €65,000, was sought from the same family by Permanent TSB, in a case that was also adjourned to the December hearing.
The civil and enforcement lists included a number of cases where banks and companies were seeking repayment of debts ranging from a few hundred euro to tens of thousands. In one instance, over €177,000 was sought by Danske Bank from a north-Monaghan based debtor. An order of €100 per month was granted in this case.
In another case, the court was told that a Monaghan company, against which another local firm was seeking over €2,600, was “hopelessly insolvent” and had been shown in a statement of means to have debts of over €1.5 million.
When a solicitor representing the plaintiffs in one particular case remarked that the person from whom money was being sought was a tradesman and should therefore have some form of income, Judge MacBride asked the lawyer concerned, “What planet are you living on?”
In this regard, the judge stated that he had just come from a town that was devastated by the recession and had seen all its Gaelic footballers —many with masters degrees and PhDs — leave to work in Australia, New Zealand and the Far East.
There was no job creation in this country, and it was a “pure joke”, Judge MacBride added.
Adjourning the case in question to 12th March 2012, he advised the solicitor to advise their client to consider that they would probably end up getting nothing. There was a prior list of creditors ahead of them in this instance, including the banks, he remarked.
“So I can’t take blood out of a stone and I won’t do it,” Judge MacBride stated.
In the case of the banks, the judge was scathing of what he perceived as the approach being taken. He believed that if they wanted to bankrupt people they should be going to the High Court. But they were not doing so because of the costs, and were instead coming into the District Court and seeking maintenance orders — as they thought they could get these “on the cheap”.
But Judge MacBride said he was not going to give such orders on the cheap in cases where debtors had no means.

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