Fianna Fáil bye-election candidate Bobby Aylward has expressed alarm about the escalating mortgage crisis in Carlow and Kilkenny, as new figures reveal that the mortgage default rate in Carlow and Kilkenny is significantly higher than the national average.

The figures, obtained by Fianna Fáil through Parliamentary Questions, show that 14.2% of mortgage holders in Carlow have defaulted on their payments while 12.4% of mortgage holders in Kilkenny have defaulted. These figures relate to June 2014 but they are the latest available.

Bobby Aylward has said the figures are proof of the severity of the mortgage crisis in Carlow and Kilkenny.

“It is shocking to think that more than 14% of mortgage holders in Carlow and 12% in Kilkenny are simply unable to pay their mortgages. These are people who are in such severe difficulty that they have had to default on their payments. And unfortunately these figures are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the extent of the mortgage crisis here, as I know there are many more homeowners who are just barely keeping their heads above water,” Bobby said.

“This is a damning indictment of the Government’s record on tackling the mortgage crisis. The crisis has spiralled out of control as mortgage holders are left at the mercy of banks. I have spoken to many local homeowners recently who tell me that they cannot keep on top of their household bills and have fallen behind on their mortgage repayments. They are now genuinely fearful that they may lose their family home. It’s heart-breaking.

“Nationally there are 37,484 people in arrears for more than two years with tens of thousands more heading in that direction. The banks have been put firmly in the driving seat when it comes to restructuring mortgages in difficulty. The level of home repossessions is rocketing and homeowners have been left without any legislative protection. The Government’s much-hyped Personal Insolvency Service is not working. Despite the severe level of mortgage difficulty in Carlow and Kilkenny, only 199 personal insolvency arrangements involving secured debt have been made by the Insolvency Service of Ireland since it was established in 2014.

“At the moment mortgage holders in Carlow and Kilkenny are being failed utterly by the Government. Fine Gael has shot down several attempts by my party to introduce legislation to get rid of this veto and put mortgage holders back in the driving seat. They cannot ignore this crisis any longer. I’m urging the Government representatives in this constituency to stop ignoring the mortgage crisis on their doorsteps.”