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Government must force banks to pass on ECB interest cuts – Doherty

8 December, 2011

Speaking in the Dáil today on the latest ECB interest rate cut, the Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty called on the government to take steps to ensure that this reduction is passed onto mortgage holders.

Deputy Doherty said:

“Today the European Central Bank cut interest rates by 0.25%.

“This should be welcome news to the more than 100,000 families in mortgage distress across the state and the many thousands more at risk of falling into arrears.

“However this will depend on whether the government will take the necessary action to force the banks to respond positively to today’s ECB announcement.

“Last month, despite all the bluster from government, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank refused to pass on the last reduction to hard pressed mortgage holders.

“The government promised to take action but when it came to the crunch they hid behind the advice of the Financial Regulator.

“Today some banks have announced their intention to pass on the rate cut. However Bank of Ireland has said it will only pass on a portion of the cut and Allied Irish Bank has said it would not pass on the cut at all.

“It is time for the government to intervene and introduce the necessary legislation to force the hand of those banks who behave in such a reckless fashion. Considering the amount of tax payers’ money that has been given to the banks it is about time they were forced to give something back to struggling mortgage holders.”

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