The deepening recession has resulted in over €1m in court judgements being made against individuals and businesses in Longford during the first six months of this year.
According to documents seen by the Leader, 15 Longford based clients accounted for €1,039,124 in court judgements from the January to June period with a further €228,000 being awarded against cash strapped businesses.
The huge gulf between both sectors meant rulings made over the first half of this year against Longford individuals were over four times the size of those registered against locally based companies.
The average judgement against firms in Longford was €16,366 compared to the €69,724 accumulated by individuals across the county.
Closer inspection of the figures, compiled by information services company Experian, underlines the true extent facing hard pressed businesses and consumers in many of Longford’s neighbouring counties.
Leitrim individuals saw a staggering €37,381,487 made against them from January to June, resulting in an average judgement of €2,875,500.
A further six businesses saw courts awarding €97,411 against them, a mere fraction of the €407,913 racked up by Cavan businesses over the same timeframe. Individual clients in the Breffni county also accounted for €3,783,560 or an average €126,118 each.
Westmeath fared even worse with over €15.8m being recorded against individuals and €330,217 registered against businesses.
The huge sums affecting almost every county in the wider midlands region has this week prompted calls for greater State-led intervention.
John Coulson from local financial services provider said the findings signified the growing pressure now facing consumers from some of the country’s leading financial institutions.
“Banks in particular are obtaining an increased number of judgements against individuals, in particular those with rented residential investment properties,” he said.
“The level of judgements registered in county Longford clearly demonstrates the increased demand for relief from personal debt.”
Mr Coulson pointed to the recently published Personal Insolvency Bill as a possible means of providing a “workable mechanism” for individuals to reduce their personal debt levels.