Fianna Fáil TD for Wexford James Browne has called on the government, banks and Central Bank to ensure that mortgage holders who opt for a payment break on their loans are not faced with increased payments.

He wants assurances that interest on these mortgages will not be charged during the payment break.

Deputy Browne explained, “There are families across Wexford whose lives have been completely upended with the arrival of COVID19 in Ireland. The services and tourism sector have been very badly hit, with hundreds of people laid off. Every effort must be made to ease the burden on these people.

“I welcome the fact that the country’s five main banks have agreed to facilitate mortgage breaks for homeowners affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. However, there needs to be clarity around the issue of interest payment. I believe interest on the loan should not be charged for the duration of the break, in keeping with the spirit of the measure.

“If people are forced to pay the interest, it will only see their monthly repayments increased once the crisis has passed, and will see these mortgage holders placed under another financial burden. The current situation is beyond the control of these homeowners and its unfair that not only have they been laid off for the foreseeable future, they could end up having to pay more on their mortgages if they opt for a measure designed to take the pressure off them financially over the next few months.

“I am calling on the banks and government, along with the Central Bank, to work together to ensure that interest on these loans can be waived for the duration of the mortgage break”, concluded Deputy Browne.