Latest figures indicate that there has been a very significant increase in the number of cases of Irish people moving residence to England to avail of the considerably more relaxed insolvency laws there.
The statistics indicate that 110 Irish people have moved residence to avoid the punitive bankruptcy laws in Ireland - which would prohibit their involvement in business in this country for a significant period of time. In contrast, filing for bankruptcy in England would enable them to be free to trade and re-enter business in a very short period of time.
Between 2006 and 2009 there were just ten cases of Irish people filing for bankruptcy in England. In 2011 it had risen to 13, by 2012 that figure has skyrocketed to 75 and the authorities in the United Kingdom have confirmed that the number of people supplying Irish addresses has now risen very substantially.
The figures owed by those who have filed for bankruptcy in England are mind boggling to the ordinary employee and taxpayer – 1.5 billion, 300 million and 23 million are some of the cases cited.
Some of those who now curry favour with the British Court system may have lived there for some time before applying for insolvency but others have made the concerted decision to do so to gain the favourable terms which apply across the water to those in financial difficulty. It is galling to the Irish taxpayer that these same people may re-enter business in Ireland in a short twelve month period without ever discharging their obligations to the Irish state or its people.
It is entirely wrong that people who have incurred massive debts in this country can be absolved of their responsibility within a short period by filing for bankruptcy in England.
It must particularly rankle with those who are in arrears with their mortgages in this country but who must stay and face the music – even if it means forfeiting their homes. Moving residence for them is not an option.
There appears to be an attitude in some circles that irrespective of the destruction which their business dealings have reaped on Irish society there is an entitlement to live the life which they have always enjoyed. There does not, though, appear to be the willingness to take on responsibility for their actions or acknowledge the huge burden which the collapse of their business empires have placed on the people of this country.
It is entirely wrong that such people should be able to file for bankruptcy in England and arrogantly re-commence businesses, which further feathers their own nests, while the Irish taxpayer pays for their past failures. The laws in this regard must be tightened and authorities on both sides of the water must liaise to ensure that those who seek to evade their responsibilities here are held fully accountable.