The full text of the speech on the mortgage crisis delivered by Deputy Pearse Doherty to the Ard Fheis in Wexford.
As we sit here tonight there are, according to the Central Bank’s own figures 141,520 families with mortgages in arrears in this State. That is over a hundred thousand households tonight who have not been able to pay their mortgage as it fell due. Those figures do not include buy-to-lets.
There will always be some who cannot pay their mortgage but when it reaches such sky-high levels we must accept that there is more than bad luck at play. This is a crisis for society.
It doubled in the last 18 months of the last Fianna Fáil government and has doubled again in the first 2 and a quarter years of this government. Clearly, there is a failure to come to grips with the crisis.
This government has taken action. It has taken action to help the banks.
Its much anticipated Personal Insolvency Act is next to useless if your debt is mainly a mortgage with a single bank because the government gave them a veto.
The Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears has been weakened so that banks can apply more pressure top struggling homeowners.
The legal protection which offered a safe guard for homeowners, the Land and Conveyancing Act ,has been changed so that banks can now move to repossess as a first option.
Each step of the way this government’s actions have been about putting the banks first.
Tá spriocanna leagtha sios ag an rialtas do na bancanna. Ach nuair a thug an Choiste Airgeadais cuireadh do na bancanna theacht isteach go dtí an Dáil le fail amach c’acú raibh na spriocanna seo bainte amach acú maidir le bheith ag cur reiteanna chun tosaigh, d’inis siad dúinn go raibh agus go raibh réite na faidbhe acú. Nuair a cuireadh tuilleadh brú orthú, uaim féin agus mo chomhleachtaí eile, fuair muid amach gur tríd litireacha a sheoladh amach, ag bagairt athshealbhú, a baineadh na spriocanna seo amach – choir a bheith 15,000 litir dlíthúil.
Sinn Fein has a different approach. Put simply we would stand up to the banks that the people bailed out.
We would implement a FAIR solution that puts the Family Home first. This means changing the Land and Conveyancing Act so that a judge, not the banks will decide if repossession is the only option.
We would empower a body that would adjudicate and crucially would have the power to force the banks to sign up to reasonable and sustainable arrangements. Resolutions would be imposed on fair Terms not always the banks’ terms.
It is time to stand up the banks.
If this government won’t Sinn Fein, given our chance, will.