High Court chief breaks silence to highlight crisis of personal debt
Banks are driving some borrowers who can not pay their debts to suicide, the Master of the High Court warned last night.
Ed Honohan, brother of Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan, told the Irish Independent he decided to speak out against the banks and other creditors because he had dealt with several debt cases where the borrowers had subsequently taken their own lives.
He added that he also decided to speak out as many borrowers who can not repay their loans, such as mortgages, credit cards and personal loans, are being pursued by banks who have already written off the debts.
This was leading to "meaningless accountancy exercises" that were driving some people to suicide, he said.
In an extraordinary intervention on the deepening debt crisis, Mr Honohan strongly criticised banks and other creditors for pursuing "to the bitter end" debtors who cannot pay judgment mortgages.
Banks are still required to chase debts and maximise recovery from borrowers even if they have written them off in their books.
Mr Honohan, a barrister, said most of the debt cases arose due to circumstances beyond the control of borrowers -- because the economy shut down as a result of the banking collapse.
He criticised the banks as he called for the updating of legislation to protect people unable to pay debts and to introduce a level of "debt forgiveness".
He said there had been a surge not only in mortgage cases but also instances where banks had chased borrowers for personal loans and then sought for judgments to be registered against family homes.
Source and full article: Irish Independent, 12 May 2011