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Serious action on mortgage distress required

2 September, 2011 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Speaking following exchanges with the governor of the Central Bank Patrick Honohan at the Oireachtas Finance Committee today Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said “more serious action is required to deal with mortgage distress than that proposed by the Central Bank governor.”

Deputy Doherty said

“Some of Patrick Honohan’s comments are a welcome step in the right direction. However I do not agree with his view that this issue should be left to the banks. Despite his calls for banks to do more and to act faster to assist those in mortgage distress, it is clear that this is not happening.

“It is Sinn Féin’s view that an independent Distressed Mortgage Resolution Board should be established, equipped with adequate resources and legal powers deal with mortgage distress on a case-by-case basis. This body would seek to reach agreement between borrowers and lenders.

“In the first instance the body should aim to assist the mortgage holders maintain their primary family residence. However for those families will do not wish to remain in the family home or where such an option would not be financially sustainable a range of other options must be available.

“Government policy in this area must be driven by a commitment to burden sharing by mortgage holders, mortgage lenders and inter-bank commercial lenders. Sinn Féin will be launching a detailed series of proposals next week. We believe that the government must act urgently to address the needs of the 100,000 families currently in mortgage distress and prevent thousands more falling into a similar situation.” ENDS

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