Govt ambivalence to mortgage crisis continues, as banks call the shots – Mac Sharry
Published on: 19 October 2012
Struggling mortgage-holders in the North West and right across the country need to see a complete change in direction from the Government in its dealings with the banks, according to Fianna Fáil Senator Marc Mac Sharry.
Speaking in the Seanad on proposals to tackle mortgage arrears put forward by Independent Senator Seán Barrett, Senator Mac Sharry said the Government is failing dismally to tackle the ever-increasing mortgage crisis and instead is simply letting the banks call the shots.
“It is appalling that the Government continues to leave the banks in full control when it comes to the mortgage crisis,” said Senator Mac Sharry. “We cannot continue to accept the current situation of just superficial engagement by the banks, while they fail to provide any real solutions to help the thousands families in distress here in Sligo and throughout this country.
“Earlier this month, the Finance Minister refused to intervene when state-owned AIB hiked its variable rates by 0.5%, piling more than €50,000 extra onto the lifetime of the average mortgage. This is simply not good enough.
“The Finance Minister Michael Noonan told the Seanad this week that calls by his Secretary General John Moran and by the Bank Regulator Fiona Muldoon for debt-forgiveness simply articulated government policy on resolving the mortgage crisis. This is simply not true. The Government’s inaction on mortgage arrears so far amounts to the polar opposite of what Moran & Muldoon have sought to help families in arrears.
“While we have a code of conduct on mortgage arrears exists on paper, in practice it provides no workable options for the forgotten generation that is shackled with the burden of unmanageable mortgage debt. For more than 18 months Fine Gael and Labour have refused to put forward any effective policies on helping people with crippling debt and have refused to back the real legislative solutions put forward by my colleagues and I in the Family Home Bill in July 2011 and the Debt Settlement & Mortgage Resolution Office Bill in October 2011. Now they have denied the latest attempts by Independent Senator Sean Barrett to ease the people’s pain.
“It is not good enough that the government would continue to stand idly by while more and more mortgage holders in the North West struggle to cope. I want Fine Gael and Labour to start putting the people in control and to take real actions that will force the banks into workable solutions for those in serious debt.”