Debt pressures 'driving borrowers to suicide'

The Master of the High Court has warned that borrowers who are having trouble paying back their loans are being driven to suicide.

The Master of the High Court has warned that borrowers who are having trouble paying back their loans are being driven to suicide.

Ed Honohan, who is the brother of Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan, says he has dealt with several debt cases where borrowers had subsequently taken their own lives.

Mr Honohan has also criticised lending institutions for pursuing debtors who cannot pay judgment mortgages.

He suggested meaningless "accountancy exercises" were causing considerable social disquiet and driving some people to suicide.

Responding to Mr Honohan's comments, the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) organisation said the lack of an effective legal system for people who are seriously over indebted is also a longstanding matter of concern.

"Right now, people who are over-indebted must grapple with a court system which is never going to actually solve their problem and where all the power still lies with the lender," said FLAC director general Noeline Blackwell.

"Banks will say that they are engaging with debtors, but they still can do this in whatever way this suits their agenda.

"Any sustainable solution will involve a number of sections of government coming together and coming up with an overall solution”.

Ms. Blackwell added that the technical work has been largely done over the last three years via "sterling work" by the Law Reform Commission.

“What is needed now is the political will to implement a solution," she said.

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