Minister for Justice Alan Shatter insisted yesterday that new mortgage legislation will not “open the floodgates” for repossessions.
After introducing the Land and Conveyancing Amendment Bill to the Seanad, he insisted it “does not grant any additional powers to financial institutions.”
The Bill reinstates a provision in legislation in 2009 that the rules on home repossession would apply to mortgages in place before that year.
Mr Shatter rejected claims the Bill would “open the floodgates for repossessions”. It merely reinstated a provision that existed four years ago.
Before debate began, however, Thomas Byrne of Fianna Fáil claimed the Bill “will directly allow approximately 71,000 family homes to be repossessed”, about half the 142,118 mortgages in arrears.
However, Labour Seanad leader Ivana Bacik accused him of “scaremongering”, which was a “typical tactic to distract people from the fact that Fianna Fáil sleep-walked us into a situation where so many people are in the desperate situation of mortgage arrears”.
The Minister said additional safeguards for borrowers would allow court proceedings to be adjourned for full consideration to be given to personal insolvency arrangements as an alternative to repossession.