Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath TD has said that urgent action is needed from the Minister for Justice and Tánaiste, Frances Fitzgerald TD to ensure that Circuit Courts are correctly implementing EU and Irish law with regard to home repossessions.

Deputy McGrath was commenting following comments from the Master of the High Court, Edmund Honohan where he suggests that County Registrars ‘should not be dealing with repossession orders’ as they do not have the necessary legal training or the legal discretion to apply EU law.

“This is a very serious matter. The Minister for Justice has a responsibility to ensure that when home repossession cases are being looked at by the courts, that those making the decision have the legal capacity to make such decisions.

“These are incredibly impactful decisions on the families involved. The Registrar plays a very important role in the process by adjudicating on whether the mortgage contract was fairly applied. Their determination can ultimately decide whether a home can be repossessed or not.

“The Chief Justice must also ensure that she has confidence in all decisions being arrived at in the Circuit Courts with regard to the administration of justice and the application of EU laws.

“In addition, the 2016 Programme for Government states that  a  dedicated  new  court  would be established to sensitively and expeditiously handle mortgage arrears and other  personal  insolvency case.

“The Autumn Legislative Schedule indicated that the Mortgages Special Courts Bill would undergo pre-legislative scrutiny by November 2016, yet at the start of 2017, the bill hasn’t even been published, let alone reviewed by the Oireachtas Committee.”

“This bill allowing for the establishment of a special court to deal with mortgage repossessions needs to be brought forward, scrutinised and enacted as quickly as possible.”

“Any further delays in this Bill are unacceptable. The Tánaiste must publish the bill early in the New Year, and deliver on the Government’s commitment to addressing possible home repossessions in a fair and targeted way,” concluded McGrath.