Taoiseach criticises role of banks in mortgage crisis
Sinn Féin leader says families cannot take any more austerity
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Government had engaged with the banks on the issue of mortgage arrears, and all that Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan had to do was look for extra powers if he required them.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said it is not good enough that the banks have failed to step up to the mark in dealing with the mortgage crisis.
“They themselves have their problems in that their people had become used to throwing out money all over the place without being able to deal with the crisis and the consequences of that,’’ he said.
“The point is that the Central Bank, as the regulator, has now to audit the figures that have been submitted by the banks,’’ he added.
Mr Kenny said 80,000 mortgages had been restructured and he assumed that they had not just been the recipients of letters indicating legal action. He had to assume that those were sustainable solutions, both for the borrower and the lender.
He said there was a whole range of options open now to people in mortgage distress.
Mr Kenny said it was not true to say that the first port of call was repossession. “The family home in this country is of fundamental and immense importance to people and their families.’’
The Taoiseach was replying in the Dáil today to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who said the Government had failed to make any meaningful impact on the mortgage arrears issue. The figure had quadrupled since 2009 and was getting worse by the day, he said.
Mr Martin said that 35,000 proposed resolutions offered by the banks to the end of June referred to surrender or repossession of property.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said people wanted to know how the budget would affect them. “Will they have less money to feed their families, pay their bills and cover their mortgages, or will austerity rule once again?’’’ he asked, adding that lower and middle income families had no more to give in the face of austerity.
Mr Kenny said the Government had signed on to meet particular targets and would not shirk from that responsibility. “But we don’t intend to go beyond it,” he said. There would be no income tax increases, as had been pledged in the programme for government, he added.