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Key government commitment on mortgage arrears looking less likely to happen – Doherty

10 May, 2017 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said it is completely unacceptable that a key government promise to tackle the mortgage arrears crisis is now looking less and less likely to happen.  

Deputy Doherty was speaking after the Taoiseach confirmed to him that there is no sign of the Mortgages Special Court Bill/Courts (Mortgage Arrears) Bill and that constitutional issues have now been raised with it.

Deputy Doherty said:

“The Programme for Government could not have been clearer that the government would:  ‘Establish a dedicated new court to sensitively and expeditiously handle mortgage arrears and other personal insolvency cases, including through imposing solutions, including those recommended by the new service. The hearings of this court could be held in private if requested by the debtor.’

“Now, one year into the life of this government, I have lost any faith in their ability to deliver this key promise. When I asked last Summer, I was told the promise ‘continued to be examined’. A whole year and there seems to be no progress at all. I have always maintained that Fine Gael’s plan to deal with the mortgage crisis has always been to let the banks deal with it in their own way and pace. That approach has been disastrous for thousands of families and will continue to be.

“Since 2013, 5,306 families have lost their home through repossession or voluntary surrender. There have been 28,917 cases before the courts and there are still 33,447 families in arrears over two years.

“Now, we have this broken promise of a key Programme for Government on an issue of huge importance. Hiding behind unknown constitutional issues and other excuses is of no comfort to the thousands in mortgage arrears. On mortgage arrears, this government has proved itself no more interested than the last government.” 

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