Doherty challenges Taoiseach on mortgage distress
During Leaders’ Question in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty TD challenged Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, on the issue of mortgage distress.
He referred to figures published by the Vincent de Paul Society showing that over 100,000 people had contacted it in the past year.
He referred to a middle class Dublin family where the father of four children lost his job and, having prioritised the mortgage repayments on the family home, had to appeal for help to feed his family.
Deputy Doherty said:
“Taoiseach this family would not even be counted as one of the 180,000 in mortgage distress. Not yet anyway, but they reflect the situation facing many more thousands of families who’ve skipped meals to keep payments up.”
He said Central Bank figures show115 homeowners fell into distress every day from the start of July to the end of September.
“One in four mortgage holders are in distress. That’s shocking and alarming.
Taoiseach, your government promised to prioritise those in mortgage distress.
“Two years later, the Central Bank’s chief economist claims that the Irish banks are still dragging their feet when it comes to mortgage distress. These families need real solutions not vetoes for banks.
“Taoiseach, when are you going to realise that the banks themselves aren’t going to deal with this problem? The banks are the problem.
“What is needed Taoiseach, is for the banks to pro-actively implement a policy of targeted restructuring of distressed mortgages including, where appropriate, write-downs of unsustainable mortgage debt, in order to enable people to remain in the family home
“So Taoiseach will you call on the banks to adopt such a policy?”