'If they take the house I'll be gutted'


JEAN NEWPORT bought her home in Maynooth, Co Kildare in 2006. A widow, she borrowed €270,000 from EBS for a €295,000 three-bed room house for her and her two sons.

Jean, who worked as an accounting technician, says: “I didn’t have a well-paying job, but I was managing and was quite happily paying it back because I borrowed it and understood that I borrowed it.”

But when she lost her job a year later, the repayments of up to €1,700 were unmanageable.

“That’s when my payments got really, really tight,” she says. “I just couldn’t do it any longer. I contacted the bank and I’ve been in negotiations with them non-stop since 2008.”

“My eldest son, he’s 26, went with me to the meetings. We literally went in to face them and explain everything. All the way they knew my story.”

“Around July last year, they said: ‘We’re so sorry, we’re going to have to take your house.’ They said ‘we’ve had enough’, but I was paying what I could.”

Jean has been assisted by lobby group New Beginning since last year, and she says last week the bank agreed to accept a repayment of €800 a month.

She works part time, earning €300 a week plus her widow’s pension.

“They’re only speaking to me because of New Beginning,” she says.

“The €800 doesn’t even cover my interest, which is €1,200, so it’s not even interest-only. It’s making no sense but that’s what they are willing to do at the minute,” she says.

“What’s upsetting is this is purely kind of a token thing to them.

“It’s not helping the interest and it’s not helping the capital, it’s purely just to keep them happy.

“It’s never going to help my situation yet it’s a lot of money for me to find. It genuinely is.

“It’s been very scary all along. I still have a son living here I’m trying to get through university. If they take the house I’ll be gutted.”