Sinn Fein Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has said a reliance on a target number of restructurings will be not be enough on its own to tackle the mortgage crisis.
Deputy Doherty said;
“This government initiative to tackle the mortgage crisis must have substance and not just spin.
“During 2011 and 2012, 24,623 mortgages were restructured. Some 16,797 restructured mortgages slipped into arrears during that time. These figures clearly show that a reliance on target for restructurings alone will not solve the mortgage crisis. A net successful restructuring of less than 8,000 over two years is not good enough.
“Two years into this government and we have seen an almost doubling of the crisis. Their hands-off approach has failed miserably and they must now get tough with the banks.
“I have concerns that the government, by focussing on restructuring targets, is missing the bigger picture. The rate of failure of restructuring agreements is another sign that the banks are continuing to avoid their responsibilities. Setting restructuring targets alone will not change that situation.
“The government must accept that the banks, left to their own devices, will do only the bare minimum. This is borne out by the fact that nearly half of all restructured mortgages are in arrears.
“They must accept that there is a need for a statutory independent body to impose settlements over the heads of the banks that are legally binding agreements with mortgage holders including where appropriate write-downs. The government must remove the bank’s veto.
“Two years have been wasted waiting for the banks to do the right thing; their hand must be forced.
“Secondly, any move to look at reversing the Dunne judgment must see the protection of the family home put on a legislative footing.
“Thirdly, the government must not facilitate any more harassment and bullying of those struggling to pay their mortgage.
“We have had enough spin from this government; it is time for a plan with substance.”