Speaking in the Dáil this morning Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD called on the leader of the Labour party to clarify what action the Government intends to take in support of the former residents of Priory Hall.
The Dublin Central TD also sought a guarantee from the Tánaiste that no family will be denied access to a personal insolvency practitioner because of an inability to pay costly upfront fees or because they are holders of a single mortgage.
Deputy McDonald said:
“Research recently published by the British Medical Journal confirmed that this State has one of the highest increases in suicide directly related to the recession.
“The pressure of enormous household and mortgage debt has become unbearable for many families.
“This has been highlighted by the tragic death of former Prior Hall resident Fiachra Daly.
“The Labour leader personally promised to make the mortgage crisis a priority yet his government is allowing the banks to set the agenda. This is why the number of families in mortgage distress has doubled on this government’s watch.
“The banks response to this human tragedy has been the issuing of 15,000 repossession letters to struggling families. Stories abound of very disturbing statements from a number of Personal Insolvency Practitioners.
“Sinn Féin has three straight questions for the leader of the Labour party.
“On Priory Hall will Labour and Fine Gael force the banks to wipe out the outstanding mortgages and allow the former residents to hand back their keys? When will government give these families the fresh start they desperately need? The time for promises has long since passed, what the Priory Hall families need is action by government and they need it now.
“On the broader issue of mortgages will the government guarantee that no family will be denied access to a personal insolvency practitioner because of an inability to pay up front fees of between €5,000 and €7,000 or because they are holders of a single mortgage?
“Will the government also guarantee that no family will be excluded from the insolvency process because of a refusal of the banks to engage with the personal insolvency practitioners? There are genuine concerns that large numbers of families in mortgage distress will be excluded from the insolvency process because of flaws in its design.
“These are straight questions that we have yet to get straight answers from government on.”