The admission by the Government that not enough has been done to deal with the mortgage arrears crisis is a welcome acknowledgement of reality but must now be backed up with meaningful action, according to Fianna Fáil’s Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath.
Deputy McGrath stated, “The Government has all but ignored the deepening mortgage arrears crisis since coming to office thirteen months ago. Quarter after quarter, official Central Bank figures has showed the situation to be getting worse. I am glad that the Taoiseach and Tánaiste agree with what we have been saying for months – that not enough has been done and greater urgency is needed to tackle this crisis.
“Last September, the Government received the Keane report but has since refused to confirm what recommendations are being implemented. At no stage have we had a strategy for dealing with the mortgage arrears crisis brought forward by Government. The Government has been relying on the banks to solve the problem, but now seem to realise that the banks are more interested in self-preservation and maintaining capital buffers than solving a life crisis for a family.
“Last October, the Government allowed a Fianna Fáil bill to establish a non-judicial debt settlement system through second stage in the Dáil but have since refused to advance the bill. Instead, we have seen the Heads of the Government’s Personal Insolvency Bill but we have no indication when it will be enacted and put into practice. We have had cuts to mortgage interest supplement relied upon by thousands of families to make ends meet.
“Fianna Fáil has already brought and will continue to bring solutions to the table to deal with the mortgage arrears crisis. Now is the time for the Government to start treating this crisis with the seriousness is deserves. Their performance in dealing with this issue will be measured by what meaningful action is taken over the period ahead.”