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Neither Kenny nor Noonan have backbone to stand up to banks on mortgage rates – Adams

8 July, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said that neither Taoiseach Enda Kenny nor Minister for Finance Michael Noonan had the backbone to stand up to the banks on high variable mortgage interest rates.

Speaking directly to Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil today, Teachta Adams said:

“We now know from his response today who the Taoiseach thinks runs the State - it’s the Central Bank, not the Government. The fact is that 300,000 households on variable mortgage rates are paying 2% more than the average eurozone borrower.

“You have moaned about this. You have expressed your unhappiness about this, but you have done nothing about it.

“Last month, Sinn Féin brought forward the Central Bank (Mortgage Interests Rates Bill) 2015. This would have given the Central Bank the power to cap mortgage interest rates at banks that have been bailed out with public money. Your Government voted this down.

“So, you actually have done something about it. You have favoured the banks against the interests of those struggling householders. And you have disguised this compliance with your usual bluster and rámeis.

“Last week, you said that 300,000 households paying variable mortgage rates above the rates at which the banks are borrowing ‘is not a morally justifiable position’. That was before the draft EU Commission Staff Report acknowledged that interest rates here are high while, at the same time, recommending a hands-off approach to the banks.

“And therein Taoiseach lies the reason for your refusal to act on this morally unjustifiable position. You always do what the elites tell you to do. Will you stand up for the rights of Irish citizens? No. Will you stand up to the big boys in Brussels? No.

“Here is a wee test for you. Cut out the bluster. Cut out the convoluted, boring narrative. Cut out the excuses. Reject the morally unjustifiable recommendations of the EU Commission.

“Give the Central Bank the power to cap mortgage interest rates at banks that have been bailed out with public money. Stand up for Irish mortgage holders.”

The Sinn Fein Leader stated 300,000 households on variable mortgage interest rates are being ripped off by the banks and the Government has stood by while the problem has escalated, saying:

“Your response to every issue of importance to ordinary citizens is that you are powerless to take action.

“You reward former Taoisigh and Ministers with big hikes in their pensions while you slash payments to lone parent families.

“You ram through laws to take money from the pockets of families who can least afford it, while former Irish Nationwide chief Michael Fingleton still holds on to the €1m bonus he promised to return to taxpayers. No special legislation to deal with this.

“The bottom line Taoiseach is that neither you nor your Finance Minister have the backbone to stand up to the banks or take action to end the punitive, morally unjustifiable interest rates being inflicting on struggling households.”

He said the Government has a consistent record of legislating in the interests of the wealthy and against the interests of everyone else and said this was the real reason why it refused to take action against the banks and stand up for mortgage holders. 

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