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Mortgage holders must be assisted through financial crisis – Morgan

27 May, 2010

Responding to new figures from the Central Bank showing a 13% increase in the number of mortgages in arrears Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan the financial crisis extends beyond the banks and it is essential that ordinary people are given help.

Deputy Morgan said the household debt crisis goes deeper than today’s figures as people who have negotiated with their banks for a payments break of interest only payments are omitted.

Deputy Morgan said:

“Since the economic crash, the balance between prices, incomes and mortgages has become distorted, with ordinary people struggling from day-to-day. Over 32,000 ordinary citizens were in mortgage arrears for more than 90 days at the end of March, an increase of 13% since the end of December 2009.

“The household debt crisis goes deeper than today’s figures. These figures do not reveal the true nature of mortgage indebtedness given that people who have negotiated with the bank for a payments break or to temporarily pay only the interest have been omitted. People are struggling to pay interest on mortgages as it is, so what will happen when they must revert to paying the whole repayment?

“Ireland is baron with ghost estates, people are saddled down with debts and financial burdens, but it is only bankers and developers who are being lent a helping hand.

“While the OECD has said yesterday that Irelands economic growth will be 3% in 2011, it will mean little for the ordinary people of this State who have foot the bill for a decade of risky speculation and a Government-fuelled property bubble.

“The depth and scope of the financial crisis extends beyond the banks into ordinary households and we need to ensure that assistance for ordinary people is justly prioritised.

“There are a number of measures which could be taken to help mortgage holders with legitimate arrears including the writing down of a proportion of negative equity and the introduction of a facility to pay mortgage only payments rather than interest only payments.” ENDS

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