THE DÁIL HAS heard criticism of what has been described as a “highly dubious property trust”, which hundreds of indebted people believe could protect their assets.
Junior minister Kathleen Lynch said that “people who are desperate are being sucked into this” and revealed that there have been hundreds of applications to the State’s property registration body from the group, all of which have been rejected.
Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins raised the issue of the misleading property trusts and called on the government to do more to inform the public of the dangers of such trusts.
The controversial Rodolphus Allen Private Family Trust has come to prominence in recent weeks with one of its leaders Charles Allen appearing in court this week over alleged trespassing on land in Kildare earlier this year.
Collins told the Dáil that this trust claims to have found a way to split mortgage portfolios and charges a fee to indebted homeowners of as much as €250 in order for them to be part of the organisation which subscribes to ‘freeman on the land’ ideology.
Minister of State Kathleen Lynch said that the Property Registration Authority (PRAI), which manages the Land Registry in Ireland, has received over 500 applications for the registration of ‘Notices of Certificates of Acknowledgement of the Living Man’s Claim of Right’.
All of these have been rejected, she said.
She said all of these have originated from the same trust and seek the acknowledgement from the PRAI of the ‘living man’ as distinct from the ‘legal man’.
The living person is of the belief that they are not bound by law or court rulings unless they accept such law, making them a ‘freeman’.
“The ‘Freeman on the Land’ is one of a number of groups, originating in Canada and the US, who advance the notion that the legal person and living person are two distinct entities,” Lynch explained.
Lynch said there had been “significant modernisation of the law of over indebtedness” under this government, citing the new insolvency regime and said that “people who are desperate are being sucked into this” referring to the trusts.
She said that did not disagree with Collins in that the proposals from such trusts are “not a viable option”.
Collins said that “massive fraud and a scam… is being perpetrated right across the country”.
He said his colleague Senator Thomas Bryne had lodged a written complaint with the gardaí but was told that it was not a formal complaint and added that it is time the authorities “took this issue seriously”.