Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Public Expenditure Thomas Byrne has described the latest mortgage arrears statistics as ‘truly shocking’.
Senator Byrne commented, “These figures confirm the true extent of this Government’s failure to tackle the mortgage crisis. With more than 12% of residential mortgages now in arrears of 90 days or more, it is clear that the government and the banks have failed utterly to face up to the scale of what is now a national crisis.
“There are now 184,000 family home mortgages in some form of distress. Most worryingly, 26,000 of these are in arrears of more than 2 years. These families are now extremely vulnerable to losing their homes due to the failure of government to hold the banks to account and introduce arrangements that are fair and sustainable.
“The banks’ unwillingness to play ball is evident in the fact that only 144 split mortgage arrangements have been put in place. This represents a tiny 0.2% of all restructured mortgages. In some cases, these customers are being charged full interest on the parked element of their mortgage so the arrangement is rendered all but useless.
“So far any government action has been heavy on the spin, but totally lacking in the kind of radical solutions we need to tackle this national crisis. While Mortgage Arrears Resolution Targets programme was launched amid much fanfare, the evidence is that the banks are not interested in genuinely sustainable solutions and are solely concerned with their own bottom line.
“Unfortunately mortgage holders are in for a further shock when the impact of the Dunne judgement reversal and the revised code of conduct on mortgage arrears kick in. The new code is set to remove the current 12 month moratorium on legal action that protects homeowners at risk of repossession.
“The time has come for the government to tackle this crisis head on. We need decisive action which removes the banks’ ability to call the shots and to stifle long term solutions that will help struggling mortgage holders.”