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Empty platitudes not enough for victims of tracker mortgage scandal - Brian Stanley TD

24 January, 2017 - by Brian Stanley TD

Sinn Féin TD for Laois, Brian Stanley spoke in the Dáil this evening on the ongoing hardship of homeowners holders who have been denied fair mortgage repayment rates.

Deputy Stanley stated:

“The wrongful removal of tracker mortgage rates from mortgage holders is yet another scandal in a long list of scandals from within Ireland’s financial sector. Families and individuals who were entitled to lower mortgage repayment rates were deliberately misled and exploited by these institutions, that were losing money due to their own incompetence.

“This scandal only came to light through the initiative of people, who were being exploited, bringing their cases to the Financial Services Ombudsman. However, as we know, there are many who have already been forced from their homes or who were coerced into surrendering their homes due to the exorbitant rates unfairly imposed on them.

“The actions of the banks who engaged in this deception is deplorable and I’m sure this will quite rightly be condemned by all sides of the house tonight. However, what this scandal has taught us yet again is that empty platitudes of condemnation and concern for victims is not enough to tackle the problem of white collar misconduct.

“It is particularly galling to see that some of the Banks which were bailed out by this State, at great financial and social cost, have caused further hardship on the people who saved them from collapse. To say that these institutions behaved unprofessionally would be putting it mildly. Poor judgement and reckless management practices within the Irish financial sector cost this state €64 Billion; with a large part of this debt being passed onto our children and grandchildren to pay. The response of the banks has been to force some mortgage holders to pay for the costs of their own incompetence.

“As well as the scandal of denying people their rightful mortgage rates we cannot forget those who to this day live under constant harassment from banks seeking mortgage repayments on overpriced homes. County Laois has seen some of the highest rates of Mortgage arrears in the country with 16% of mortgages in arrears of 3 months or more, with many people still trapped in negative equity.  

“Many of these people are willing and eager to arrange fair and affordable repayment plans, but they do not have the same leverage as the financial institutions when in need of assistance.

“This whole sorry saga only goes to prove that the captains of private capital are incapable of acting ethically. It underlines the need for a state banking sector that operates ethically, plans for the long term future, and works for the benefit of the people.

“Many countries have successful state and public banking systems such as Sparkassen in Germany.  Yet Ireland remains committed to a private only model which has produced this litany of failures.

“If this Government wants to claim that it is acting in the interests of the people rather than the interests of the bankers then The Minister is obligated to act immediately on the recommendations of this motion.

“A comprehensive redress scheme is the least that the victims of this latest scandal deserve. However, if we are to avoid future similar scandals then a major overhaul of existing laws is required.”

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