O'Dea accuses government of breaking promises to mortgage holders

O'Dea accuses government of breaking promises to mortgage holders

Willie O'Dea

FIANNA Fáil TD Willie O’Dea has accused the Fine Gael and Labour government of breaking every promise it made to mortgage holders prior to last February’s General Election.

The Limerick deputy said he has had people coming to him in tears, “admitting that they voted for the government parties believing their promises to provide extra mortgage interest relief.”

Deputy O’Dea said in a statement that the most recent quarterly mortgage arrears statistics released by the Central Bank underlined the need for an urgent and decisive government response to the growing mortgage arrears crisis.

He said: “The figures released recently by the Central Bank show that, at the end of September 2011, 62,970 or 8.1% of residential mortgages were in arrears of 90 days or more. A further 36,376 mortgages have been restructured and have not fallen into arrears. The corresponding figure for the end of June was 55,763 mortgage accounts or 7.2% and there were 39,395 restructured mortgages not in arrears.

“In addition, in response to questions raised with the Central Bank when they appeared before the Oireachtas Finance committee in October, further evidence has been provided of the scale of the underlying mortgage crisis.

“The Central Bank has informed the committee that, at end June 2011, some 46,634 mortgages were in arrears of less than 90 days. Therefore the number of mortgages in some level of difficulty is approaching 150,000, representing close to one in five of all residential mortgages.

“It is absolutely clear from the figures that the mortgage arrears problem is accelerating. The situation is not helped by the indecision and lack of action on the part of government.

“People have come to me in tears, behind in their payments, admitting that they voted for the government parties believing their promises to provide extra mortgage interest relief.

“The Keane Report on mortgage arrears was presented to the government on 28th September. Seven weeks on, the government has not made any decisions on the Keane Report and has not come forward with any action plan for dealing with the urgent problem of mortgage arrears. The Minister for Finance informed the Dáil recently that he will most likely make an announcement between Budget day and the Dáil Christmas recess.

“The only thing this government has done for mortgage holders is to break every promise it made to them – including the promise to give an extra €166 per month of mortgage interest relief and to force banks to absorb ECB rate hikes.

“Fianna Fáil’s bill to establish a non-judicial debt settlement system dealing with mortgage debt and other forms of personal debt has passed second stage in Dáil Éireann and has been referred to the Justice committee. The government should move this bill through the legislative process or publish its own bill without delay.

“The government should prioritise this issue and come forward with its plans for dealing with the mortgage arrears crisis in advance of the budget.”

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