Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare South Seán Ó Fearghaíl has accused the Government of failing families across Kildare who are experiencing growing difficulties in keeping up with their mortgage repayments.

Deputy Ó Fearghaíl raised the matter in the Dáil today with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny during Leaders Questions. The Kildare South TD highlighted the current flaws with the Governments Code of Conduct for Mortgage Arrears. The code sets out how mortgage lenders must treat borrowers who are in arrears.

“Since the beginning of this year a number of banks have significantly stepped up their efforts to repossess family homes where the mortgage is in arrears. Fianna Fáil has long warned that a growing number of families are facing the threat of repossession. Unfortunately the Government has been unwilling to take on board our concerns” said Deputy Ó Fearghaíl.

“Many of the families facing the prospect of repossession feel they do not have a level playing field when dealing with the banks. This situation has arisen as a result of the Government’s refusal to remove the veto that the banks have on mortgage restructuring under the Code of Conduct for Mortgage Arrears.

“Recent revelations have highlighted that seven lenders have been identified by the Central Bank as not being in compliance with the Code of Conduct for Mortgage Arrears. The Central Bank has not given any further details on this and has even failed to name the lenders in question. This lenient treatment of non-compliant lenders is in stark contrast to the pressures that distressed mortgage holders face on a daily basis when interacting with the banks.

“When I raised this matter with An Taoiseach in the Dáil he again attempted to wash his hands clean of the situation. If the Government was sincere about wanting to help families in Kildare who are in mortgage arrears then it would remove the bank veto and ensure that all lenders are in compliance with Central Bank regulations. Earlier this year Fianna Fáil put forward the ‘Family Home Mortgage Settlement Arrangement Bill’ which, if enacted by the Government, would remove the bank veto in mortgage restructuring.

Deputy Ó Fearghaíl also pointed out that many local authorities across the country are using aggressive tactics to deal with cases of mortgage arrears.

“The Government must also keep in mind that many local authorities across the country are money lenders. In recent months there have been an increasing number of people highlighting that these local authorities are using aggressive tactics to pursue those in mortgage arrears. I have asked the Taoiseach to clearly outline who is overseeing the activities of these local authorities and what steps are being taken to help the struggling families who have to deal with these aggressive tactics” said Deputy Ó Fearghaíl.