Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the government’s appeasement policy with the banks is not delivering for the one in four households with mortgages in distress.
Deputy Doherty said:
“Two and a half years into this government and we have seen a doubling of the number in arrears.
“Fine Gael and Labour’s appeasement strategy is failing. Earlier this month the Finance Committee in the Dáil called in the banks to explain how they would meet the targets set by the Central Bank on mortgage arrears. Their answer after much questioning revealed that between them the 4 main banks had sent out 14,721 letters threatening repossession and it was on the basis of these letters that could claim to have met the targets.
“That is how they have met their targets. They have fiddled the figures and did it blatantly knowing this government will not lift a finger against them.
“Yesterday the Central Bank moved and set actual targets for concluded agreements. It was a short statement, long overdue and lacking in ambition but the most important thing was what it did not say. It is tellingly silent in what it considers to be a “concluded agreement”.
“Unless further clarification is issued we can only presume that they will count repossessions or deals imposed under threat of repossession as concluded agreements.
“Minister Noonan needs to make it clear to the banks that threatening to repossess is not a solution. He must admit that appeasing the banks is not working and instead set up an independent body that can enforce reasonable and sustainable agreements between the banks and distressed borrowers.”