€4,000 debt to be paid off at €15 per month
'HORSE TRADING' IN COURT BY HORSE OWNER
A WEXFORD TOWN man well known for keeping horses has successfully negotiated repayments of €15 per month on a €4,000 credit card debt, which is to remain interest free until he pays it off.
James Breen (pictured), of 10 Devereux Villas, appeared before Judge Donnchadh O Buachalla at Wexford's Civil Court after Bank of Ireland sought a decree against him for the sum of €4,013.91.
Mr Breen did not deny he owed the bank the money, but told the judge that the claim was 'a total waste of time'.
'I was paying an amount off the debt and then the bank decided to take proceedings against me,' said Mr Breen.
'Then they sent me a letter saying they'd take the same amount I was paying in the first place,' he added.
Mr Breen had been paying Bank of Ireland €10 per week off his credit card debt, but he told Judge O Buachalla that since his disability benefit has dropped he was now willing to pay them €10 a month.
However, Bank of Ireland's solicitor said Mr Breen is 'blaming everyone except himself'.
He also pointed out that since last May the bank had suspended the €60 interest a month that had been accruing on Mr Breen's debt, saving over €600 to date. He said that since July of last year, Mr Breen has made just three payments of €10 off that debt.
The bank's solicitor said that Mr Breen is 'very lucky' to have the interest fee waived and that they had been very fair in their dealings with him. 'You do appear to be fortunate,' Judge O Buachalla told Mr Breen.
The judge noted that there was now an issue as the bank wanted €10 per week and Mr Breen was only willing to pay €10 a month.
'€10 per month off a €4,000 debt will take forever,' said the bank's solicitor. 'That's the reality we're living in and not a good enough reason to refuse an offer,' replied Judge O Buachalla.
In an effort to resolve the impasse, Judge O Buachalla asked Mr Breen to fill out a statement of means and the bank's solicitor assured Mr Breen that the information he provided would be used solely for the purpose of determining what he can afford to repay. They re-emerged after talks and Mr Breen said he was offering €10 a month, with the bank still seeking €40. Judge O Buachalla said he would grant the decree for €4,013.91, but put a stay on the order if Mr Breen made payments of €20 per month off the debt. 'That's a bit extravagant,' said Mr Breen, adding that 'the government took €20 a week off me'. 'You keep horses?' asked Judge O Buachalla. 'I have to feed them,' replied Mr Breen, who said the €10 per month was 'the best offer I can make'.
However, Judge O Buachalla said it was not enough and that he would have to make an order for repayments of €20 per month. 'How about €15 a month and we'll leave it at that?' asked Mr Breen.
Judge O Buachalla checked with the bank's representative and they consented to this offer. Costs were also awarded to Bank of Ireland, but on the undefended, or lowest scale.