Declaring Bankruptcy in Ireland: Everything You Need to Know

man and women discussing bankruptcy

The Changing Stigma of Bankruptcy in Ireland

The stigma once associated with bankruptcy can still lead people to hold off necessary arrangements until they’re in a more difficult situation than to begin with. However, it’s important to understand that poor financial situations affect many types of people, all with varying backgrounds and circumstances, and there is no need to feel ashamed of yours.

Furthermore, recent changes to the bankruptcy law now mean that bankrupt individuals are penalized far less strictly than before. Previously, bankruptcy claimants would find themselves bankrupt for 15 years, whereas now it is only 1.

Making the first movements to rectify your financial issues as soon as possible often leads to a simpler solution in the long run, so it’s important to not let pride or shame deter you from making the first steps.

Is Bankruptcy the Right Option for me?

Bankruptcy is often the preferred route for an individual who is unable to repay both secured and unsecured debts to their creditors to the amount of or greater than €20,000.

The process is conducted by the High Court, and when an individual files for bankruptcy, it ensures that their assets are distributed fairly among creditors in order to protect them from further liabilities.

Since large debt can happen to anyone, people of all backgrounds find themselves needing to file for bankruptcy. Failed business ventures, large mortgages, student loans and large amounts of credit are common examples of what can lead to overwhelming debt, and even for those in more fortunate situations, debt like this can be difficult to manage. Furthermore, the financial difficulties of the last decade have also left many people struggling, with many continuing to live with financial woes today.

However, many individuals with debt are better suited to other insolvency options such as a debt settlement agreement, a debt relief notice, or a personal insolvency arrangement. You can read more about these arrangements here.

An insolvency solicitor can help you determine if bankruptcy is the best solution for you, free of charge.

10 Things to Know About Bankruptcy in Ireland

Once you have identified that bankruptcy is the right option for you, there are several things you need be aware of about how to declare yourself bankrupt, and the ramifications of doing so.

  1. Applying to declare yourself bankrupt isn’t free.

You must pay an initial €200 towards the costs of the process. Additional costs for solicitors are also applicable for negotiating the terms of the bankruptcy settlement.

  1. Once declared bankrupt, you will be bankrupt for one year.

Since January 2016, if you are granted bankruptcy, your period of being bankrupt lasts 12 months, rather than 3 or 12 years as the periods have previously been, falling in line with the regulations set in the UK and Northern Ireland.

  1. Once you are declared bankrupt, your assets are sold by the Official Assignee to pay your creditors.

You can keep up to €6000 of ‘excluded’ assets such as furniture, clothes, and necessary items for those dependent on you. 

  1. The court may use your salary or pension for the benefit of your creditors. 

Normally, you will have to pay the Official Assignee a certain amount of your income, which will go towards discharging your debts. 

  1. Assets you gain after you become Bankrupt may still be seized by the court for the benefit of your creditors.

 Examples include things like inheritance or winnings.

  1. Your family home can only be sold by the Official Assignee if the court gives prior permission.

The Court may postpone the sale of your home after weighing up the interest of your creditors and your family.

  1. You will appear in the Bankruptcy Register until such time as your bankruptcy is discharged.

Anyone can check this register, and if you fail to disclose that you are on the list, it can count as a criminal offense.

  1. Being bankrupt impacts your work opportunities

Once you have been declared bankrupt, you cannot act as a director, manager, auditor, liquidator or receiver of a company unless you receive permission first from the court, neither can you be a trustee of a charity.

  1. Once bankrupt, you may not travel outside the State without telling your Official Assignee first.

If you fail to let them know, you may be arrested if you attempt to do so.

  1. When bankrupt, you cannot receive an enduring power of attorney.

If you already do, it will be revoked.

The Process of Declaring Bankruptcy

woman doing finances

Once it is determined that you meet the requirements of filing for bankruptcy, you must lodge a fee with the court official who deals with bankruptcy, the “Official Assignee”.

You must then complete your petition, a sworn affidavit, and a sworn statement of affairs, and get these documents stamped. After this, you must file your documents at the Examiner’s Office, and attend a court date.

If you succeed and are adjudicated bankrupt, you must then complete an interview with the Official Assignee or Bankruptcy Inspector, and place notices of your High Court sitting in Iris Oifigiúil and on the Insolvency Service of Ireland’s website or in a national newspaper. Then you must attend your High Court Sitting in order to notify your creditors of your bankruptcy.

Why You Need an Experienced Solicitor To Help You Declare Bankruptcy

When you apply for bankruptcy, you are in a vulnerable and defensive position. Your creditors want to ensure they receive the most back from you as possible, and without the help of an experienced solicitor to negotiate the terms on your behalf, you can find yourself with strict and restrictive bankruptcy conditions.

An experienced solicitor can help you to:

  • Retain unprotected assets, such as your family home
  • Determine how much of your future wage will go towards your debtors
  • Attempt to protect any other assets you wish to protect
  • Negotiate time period terms with your lenders, buying you time to better your situation.
  • Plan your bankruptcy strategically, ensuring thought for future, such as being able to apply for credit, run businesses etc.

Why Choose Gibson & Associates? Our Bankruptcy Case Studies

At Gibson & Associates, we have had a huge amount of experience dealing with bankruptcy cases. Our solicitors have helped people from all sorts of backgrounds and circumstances, and understand how to make the most out of a stressful and deeply personal situation.

We also understand that no one is immune to financial hardship and that with careful and strategic planning, no one has to be ruined by it either.

Below are examples of clients we have helped. Each client needed to claim bankruptcy, but had very different circumstances to each other:

bankruptcy case study 2

bankruptcy case study 1


We Can Help You – Contact Us Today

Our team of Insolvency solicitors can work with you to get a great plan in place, working towards a solution that you can be genuinely happy with. Contact us on 1890 989 289 or email us to start working towards a brighter future today.

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