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Shorter term sees bankruptcy inquiries double

A large number of people in serious financial difficulty likely waited for changes to the country’s bankruptcy laws so as to take advantage of the newly introduced shorter term, according to a bankruptcy specialist.

Garry Clarke of legal firm bankruptcysolicitor.ie said the number of people exploring bankruptcy has soared since the reduction in the term to one year from the previous three-year regime, with twice as many enquiries seen in January compared to the previous month.

Garry Clarke bankruptcy

“The number of calls to our offices from people seeking bankruptcy assessment has doubled in January and that trend is continuing.

"The sharp increase in enquiries over declaring bankruptcy is a direct result of the long overdue law changes enacted in December.

"It appears a large number of people in serious financial trouble decided to hold off in order to take advantage of the new reforms,” Mr Clarke said.

The fixed-fee bankruptcy firm, a trading name of Donegal-based Lanigan Clarke Solicitors, received 27 inquiries in January 2016.

This compares with just 12 in December and eight the previous month. Mr Clarke’s practice has received 18 inquiries to date in February.

Demand for the updated bankruptcy regime looks set to continue as an increasing number of people burdened by huge household debts seek an escape route.

The figures chime with the prediction of Insolvency Service of Ireland director, Lorcan O’Connor who estimated more than 1,000 people could avail of bankruptcy this year - twice the number in 2015.

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