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One announcement won’t solve mortgage crisis after four years of arrogant denial - Tóibín

13 May, 2015

Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín TD has said one government announcement won’t solve a mortgage crisis which has been made worse by the government's four years of arrogant denial.

Deputy Toibín said:

“The first thing out of the Ministers’ collective mouth should have been an apology for four years of compounding this crisis and siding with the banks. Only last year they voted down a Sinn Fein Bill to empower the courts in the way they are proposing today. This is a massive U-turn and an admission of failure. Now with an election within months they have put together a package that has been needed for years.

“I do cautiously welcome the commitments given particularly the commitment to remove the banks’ veto. Sinn Féin correctly opposed the banks' veto when the Insolvency Act was being brought in. We said it was a fatal flaw but were dismissed by Fine Gael and Labour. Since then years of arrogant government denial has compounded this crisis while the banks mercilessly turned the screw on homeowners.

“The devil will be in the detail. Today was a very vague statement not backed up by any concrete proposals. For example the removal of the bank veto is a complex issue and a simple review mechanism or procedural check is not adequate. The veto must be gone - not tinkered with. Only last year the government rejected a Bill by Pearse Doherty that would have given the courts power to overrule a bank veto where the Family Home was at stake.

“Empowering MABS is a welcome move but will require resources. Under this government at one point citizens were waiting up to 20 weeks for an appointment.

“There have been fundamental flaws in the Mortgage to Rent schemes ,including the lack of resources available to social housing bodies and local authorities to allow them play their part, which need to be addressed and sadly all detail in that regard was lacking today.

“Sinn Fein is disappointed that the Labour Party have rolled over on the issue of one year bankruptcies. Kicking this to touch is a cop out. It should be included in today’s commitments.

“We note that other necessary initiatives like empowering the Financial Services Ombudsman have been ignored and the legislation to protect those whose mortgages were bought by vultures remains in limbo.

“The important phase begins now. Sinn Fein will hold the government to its commitment to remove the bank veto which it until now the government had opposed time after time." 

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