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Mortgage rate issue won’t go away without firm action - Doherty

22 May, 2015 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the mortgage rate issue won’t go away without firmer action by government and the Central Bank. Deputy Doherty has submitted to the Ceann Comhairle legislation to empower the Central Bank to set a maximum standard variable rate for those banks that were covered by the bank guarantee.

Deputy Doherty said:

“It is now clear that the government approach has failed and firmer action is needed. A 0.25% cut at some point in the future is not good enough. This issue is not going away without firm action.

“This issue has been rumbling on for years without any action from Fine Gael and Labour. Successive ECB rate cuts since 2011 made no impact on interest rates which are now twice the EU average. That is why in 2013 I tabled the Interest Rates Approval Bill which would empower the Regulator to step in when banks tried to raise rates. Now it is time to go further. My Bill will allow the Regulator to set a maximum rate and to force the banks to set reasonable rates.

“Minister Noonan and the Central Bank are still stuck in the mind-set that the banks own the people and not the other way around. It is time for concrete action and a legal basis to force the banks to act responsibly. The softly softly approach of the Minister has failed utterly. Sinn Féin will not be placated by a commitment to a small decrease.

“Like they have done in the mortgage arrears crisis, this government has been guilty of fiddling while fires raged in the real world. I welcome the fact that the Minister has dropped the Pontius Pilate act but if he thinks Sinn Féin or the thousands of homeowners being ripped off will be placated by this statement, he is sorely mistaken.”

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