independent

Wednesday 13 December 2017

I traded in millions but now I can't even repay €25 a month

COURT HEARS TALE OF RECESSION WOES

A BUSINESSMAN who traded in millions just a few years ago, this week told a court that he is now so broke that he can't pay off a debt at just €25 a month.

Thomas Clarke of 23 Corish Park, the former owner of Slaney Electrical, is being sued by Wexford Trade Electric Ltd over €5,223 that is still outstanding after he already paid the plaintiffs back over €100,000 from personal funds.

Wexford Trade Electric applied to Judge Donnchadh O Buachalla for an instalment order of €25 a month against the defendant and his wife Aisling, but Mr. Clarke said he could not afford to pay that amount as he has no income whatsoever. Ed King, solicitor, said Mr. Clarke's wife is receiving €390.27 a week while attending a VTOS ( Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme) course. The family's outgoings are €431 a week while the amount coming in is €425 including children's allowance.

He said Mr. Clarke was not in receipt of any social welfare whatsoever.

The defendant told Judge O Buachalla that he had tried to obtain a C2 form to enable him to work but was unable to do so because he was the director of a company.

'I paid millions in tax for 13 years while trading. I have no income whatsoever,' he said, adding that it was wrong to enjoin his wife in the case as she had nothing to do with it.

Mr. Clarke said he originally owed Wexford Trade Electric €128,000 but managed to get it down to €20,000 out of the family's own personal money.

Unfortunately, his company folded in October 2008. At one stage he had 160 electricians working for him, 93 of whom had served their time with him.

He said he thought it was very unfair of Wexford Trade Electric to bring him to court for €5,000.

He went to his own accountant and asked how much business he had done with them. His accountant told that that he had traded €1.7 million with this company.

' They have me and my wife here in court today for the sake of €5,000,' he said.

'I'm a proud Wexfordman. If I had the €25 a month to give them, I would give it,' the defendant added.

Judge O Buachalla adjourned the case to December next in the hope that Mr. Clarke's situation might improve.

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