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Government must compel banks to reduce variable interest rates – Adams

12 May, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said the Government must now compel banks to pass on ECB interest rate reduction to households.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Mr Adams raised with the Taoiseach a report sent to the Department of Finance yesterday, in which the Central Bank told the Government it does not want powers to compel banks to reduce variable mortgage interest rates

Gerry Adams said:

“Yesterday, in a report sent to the Department of Finance, the Central Bank told the Government it does not want powers to compel Irish banks to reduce variable mortgage interest rates. Over 300,000 mortgage holders will have received this news with utter dismay.

“Let’s be clear what’s going on here. The European Central Bank reduced its variable interest rates but Irish Banks have refused to pass this reduction on to households and are instead pocketing this money.

“Quite simply Irish mortgage holders are being ripped off by the banks. Meanwhile, the Central Bank is refusing to be a watchdog in relation to the banks and to protect mortgage holders. Sinn Féin has been calling on the Government to take action on this issue for four years now.

“Mortgage holders on variable interest rates want the Government to state very clearly and robustly that it rejects the Central Bank recommendation. They want to hear that the Government is going to ensure that the Central Bank takes on these powers.

“The Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance need to assert clearly that they will ensure that mortgage holders, who have been denied the benefit of ECB reductions, will finally be afforded some relief.

“High variable mortgage rates are contributing to the overall crisis in mortgage arrears. The Government must move beyond rhetoric and waffle. Hand-wringing by the Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan has not worked. Polite conversations with Bank CEOs have not worked. As Michael Noonan might put it, some of these bank CEOs are ‘allergic’ to fairness.

“The Government needs to take firm and decisive action. Citizens have been waiting and waiting for proposals to deal with the mortgage crisis.

“The Government has no problem introducing unprecedented, new legislation to pickpocket citizens’ wages, pensions and social welfare to pay its Water Tax.

“They need now to stand up for householders and taxpayers. They need to stand up to the banks and introduce specific measures to end the bank veto and reduce variable interest rates.”

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