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Sinn Féin calls for the establishment of a non-judicial, independent mortgage resolution body - O'Rourke

13 April, 2013

Darren O’Rourke, is the Sinn Féin local representative in Meath East and was a candidate in the recent by-election. He is a political advisor to the party’s health spokesperson Caoimhghín  Ó Caoláin

“Welcome to Ireland, where mortgage payments are optional and the banks are a mess”.


So read a headline from an international magazine just last week.I think we can all agree that the author was....half right. The banks most certainly are a mess.


Mortgage payments, however, are not optional.

While unemployment is stagnant at above 14%, when more than 1.8 million people have only €50 left at the end of the month, when more than 180,000 mortgages are in serious distress and when 115 more fall into distress every day, for many people paying the mortgage is simply not an option.


The reality is that families across the country are suffering. They are distraught. Will I feed my children or will I pay my mortgage? That is not an option. This is not game theory. You feed your kids. We feed our kids.


The alarm bells on the mortgage crisis started ringing in December 2009. The exponential rise in the subsequent three and a half years reflects the absolute and abject failure of successive governments to deal with the situation.


Fianna Fáil created the crisis. As 49,000 mortgages fell into distress they did nothing. Their words ring hollow now. Fine Gael and Labour, who waited so patiently in the wings and who promised so much in opposition have continued in the same dismal vein. For them it was clearly a case of lights, camera, inaction!!


Instead of taking decisive measures they continue to employ the kid gloves approach with the banks, allowing the threat of repossession to loom large. Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering  mental, emotional and financial anguish. Many are suffering in silence. They need real and meaningful action, now.

Sinn Féin has proposed the establishment of a non-judicial, independent mortgage resolution body with the power to impose agreements on lenders and borrowers: a body with real teeth that doesn’t take its lead from third parties.

Empty words or the promise of a solution in the distant future at the behest of the banks, simply won’t do.

The banks, as we know, are a mess. This government is no better.

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