Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesman Michael McGrath has welcomed the decision of the ECB to cut its main interest rate from 1.5% to 1.25%, describing it as being “of benefit to the European economy as well as people in difficulty with mortgages and other debts.”

“The Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said he wants the banks to pass on today’s interest rate reduction.  I believe it is incumbent upon the Minister to make sure that this is done.  Fine Gael promised to force the banks to absorb interest rate increases but failed to deliver when the ECB twice increased rates earlier this year.

“Thousands of families across the country are struggling with high mortgage repayments.  Those on variable rate mortgages saw their monthly repayments increasing earlier this year as the Government stood by.  Fianna Fáil has proposed to establish a Mortgage and Debt Resolution Office to deal comprehensively with mortgage and debt difficulties and our legislation is currently before the Oireachtas Justice Committee having passed Second Stage in the Dáil.

“A swift response from banks to today’s ECB rate cut will go some way to easing the stress being felt by thousands of families.  However if the banks fail to act the Minister and the Financial Regulator will have to step in to ensure the public and not just the banks benefit from the rate reduction.”