Government fails to act on mortgage crisis
The Defend Our Homes League was established in July as a response to the crisis people are facing with repossessions and evictions. The initiative was taken by the United Left Alliance, supported by the legal group New Beginning, Irish Homeowners Unite and also the support of a number of Independent TDs.
I have played a leading role in setting up the Defend Our Homes League. My Dail response to the report of the expert group on the mortgage crisis (the Keane report), was this:
“The discussion document before the House has been warmly welcomed by the banks. Indeed, it could have been drafted by them. It does not call on them to do anything more than they are doing at present. In many instances, they are not even doing what is required of them. The so-called recommendations contained in this document are mere guidelines.
“The two main issues relating to the matter of mortgage arrears are keeping people in their homes and negative equity. Neither of these is properly dealt with in the document, which is completely dismissive in the context of negative equity and states that the write-down would be too expensive. I challenge that opinion and ask in whose interest is it too expensive.
The first point I made was related to keeping people in their homes. The report disgracefully accepts that repossessions will happen and that after a bank has taken possession of a person’s home, it may be possible for that person to rent the property from it, with the debt remaining as a heavy weight on his or her shoulders. That is an outrageous idea.
“The Government should ensure that if a debtor engages with a lender and is prepared to pay a reasonable amount of net income – this should be decided not by the banks but by an independent agency – there should be no question of a person losing his or her home. People could make interest-only payments or park the mortgage in order that interest does not accrue while there is a chance to pay down some of the principal.”
To find out more about the league go to Mortgage crisis on top bar