Fianna Fáil Senator and candidate for Sligo-Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry says the Government’s plan to tackle the mortgage arrears crisis is overly bureaucratic and will not fully ease the burden on distressed mortgage holders.
Senator Mac Sharry commented, “After four years of denying that there was a problem in the way banks are dealing with people in mortgage arrears, the Government has now come up with a very limited range of measures to address the issue. Fianna Fáil has been highlighting the situation of thousands of families across the North West and the country, for whom the threat of losing their homes is very real, while the Government refused to admit that any problem with the banks handling of these cases existed.
“As the Government continued with its denials, families were subjected to years of distress as the banks refused to enter into debt deals with them. During that same time Fianna Fáil was actively putting forward solutions to effectively tackle the crisis – from the Family Home Bill which I drafted in 2011, the Mortgage Resolution Bill in 2013 and the Family Home Mortgage Settlement Arrangement Bill, which was published earlier this year – all of which were voted down by the Government.
“While the move to allow the courts to overrule the banks and recommend solutions in certain cases is welcome, the details of the proposals are unclear and must be fleshed out properly.
“Changes to the mortgage to rent scheme will make little or no difference to distressed homeowners in the North West as it has been a complete failure in this part of the country. There have been no cases completed in either Donegal or Sligo, while there has been only one case completed in Cavan and another in Leitrim. In addition to that, the State owned banks have effectively refused to engage with the process, with statistics revealing that nationally AIB, EBS, Permanent TSB and Bank of Ireland have completed a total of 13 cases to date.
“Despite the backslapping and self-congratulation, the reality is that these latest measures will not make any real difference to the thousands of homeowners in the North West struggling to come up with a workable arrangement with their bank. We need to see a radical overhaul of the system and ensure that fairness is at the heart of it”.