Ross claims 'free run at homeowners'
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has disputed claims that legislation to close a loophole preventing banks foreclosing on particular properties will actually mean “open season on homeowners”.
Independent TD Shane Ross made the claim when he insisted the legislation would allow banks to repossess at will. However, Mr Gilmore said the Government had made it very clear “we want to keep people in their own homes and avoid having homes repossessed”.
The Coalition agreed with the EU-IMF troika to close a loophole which stops financial institutions foreclosing on certain properties. The issue was flagged during a court repossession case in 2011.
Mr Ross said Mr Gilmore’s assertion on Wednesday there would be “no wave of repossessions” ran contrary to what was running in the “global media, about which the Government is so sensitive”.
He asked why the decision had been made to introduce legislation to allow the banks greater powers of repossession.
“It will be open season on homeowners in 2013 because that legislation will not plug a loophole. Rather it will allow the banks to repossess at will.”
Asking why banks were being given a “free run at homeowners”, he suggested the Government should take the view the legislation was unnecessary and it would be “more sympathetic to homeowners if it were not introduced”.
The Government was going to bring in the Revenue Commissioners, whom he described as the “heavy gang”, to collect money “from those who are unable to pay”.
Mr Gilmore said the Government had established the Keane group to make recommendations to address the problem of repossessions arising from mortgage arrears. That was why it introduced the Personal Insolvency Bill, which “will introduce radical changes to our personal insolvency laws and strengthen the hand of homeowners in their dealings with banks”.
Mr Ross said the Revenue Commissioners had been chosen so that money could be deducted at source from people unable to pay. People on social welfare would be in a situation “where the property tax will be taken from their social welfare payment before they can even put food on the table”.
The Tánaiste said Mr Ross would write a column or get up on stage to criticise the “waste of resources in having multiple agencies doing what one agency could do”. He added that “householders are being given various options with regard to method of payment”.
He said “when parliament decides that a tax should be levied there is an obligation on everyone to be compliant and pay it”.