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Permanent TSB director says no to debt write-downs

19 December, 2012 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Former Fianna Fáil government Minister and Permanent TSB Public Interest Director Ray McSharry told the Oireachtas Finance Committee today that there would be no write downs for people in mortgage distress. The admission came during heated exchanges between Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty and McSharry in the Finance Committee today.

Deputy Doherty has said the public interest is not being served by Ray McSharry or Margaret Hayes and called on them both to resign.

Deputy Doherty said:

“Today during a presentation to the Oireachtas Finance Committee by the public interest directors of Permanent TSB I challenged former Fianna Fáil Minister Ray McSharry to explain what the bank and the board of directors were doing for the growing number of people in mortgage distress.

“McSharry said categorically that there would be no debt write downs for people unable to pay their mortgages.

“His remarks made it very clear that Mr McSharry was representing the interests of the Bank and not the public. This is hardly surprising given that he was a board member of Bank of Ireland for 12 years up until 2005. During his tenure the bank was embroiled in the DIRT scandal and the bank’s chief executive was paid in excess of €1.5million.

“McSharry’s outright rejection of any debt write-downs was all the more remarkable given that the Personal Insolvency Bill is due to conclude in the Oireachtas shortly and its provisions include the negotiation of debt write-downs to make mortgages sustainable and protect the family home.

“Sinn Féin has been critical of the Personal Insolvency Bill because it gives the banks a veto over any possible agreements between lenders and borrowers.

“Clearly the banks intend to use this veto on debt write downs, confirming the fears expressed by many including Sinn Féin.

“The board of Permanent TSB has little interest in solving the mortgage crisis in a way that assists people to protect their family home.

“The public interest is not being served by Ray McSharry or Margaret Hayes. Between them they have received a total of €510,000 in fees since 2008. It is hard to see what the public is getting in return for this money. They should both resign immediately.” ENDS

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