Speaking in the Seanad today, Senator Kathryn Reilly, Sinn Féin described the situation for distressed mortgage holders as a national emergency. Senator Reilly urged the government to bring forward proposals before the summer recess to address this problem.
“Today the Central Statistics Agency reported that house prices continue to fall, this month by 1.2 per cent compared to April and 12.2 per cent over the year. There is no end in sight in the decline in property prices and increases in negative equity.
“Also the latest figures show 86,271 mortgage holders are classified as being in serious distress. This includes defaulted and renegotiated mortgages. In excess of 11% of all mortgages holders are in difficulty. Of these 49,609 mortgages are in arrears of more than 12 weeks.
“We now have families struggling to meet inflated mortgages for properties worth a fraction of their value having to choose between a roof over their head or paying for food and heat.
“This in a national emergency and the lack of action by this government on this issue is a national disgrace.
“Last week Micheal Noonan in New York threw some shapes at the bondholders of Anglo and Irish Nationwide. A few days later, on his return to Dublin, he and the Taoiseach ruled out a similar approach to the other banks. The value of these unsecured and unguaranteed bonds in other banks is €13 billion.
“Compare that with the value of distressed mortgages estimated at €12.5 billion. The sub going to bondholders is greater than the value of all the distressed mortgages.
“It is now clear that the priority for Fine Gael and Labour, is the bond holders and not the house holders.
“I am urging the government to bring forward proposals before the summer recess to address this problem.
“Failure to act now will not only mean that thousands more families will fall into arrears and possibly lose their homes. Action is needed to be taken. It is fundamentally unjust that banks have been rewarded while the people face real hardship.” ENDS