Congress urged on mortgage strike


Leading trade unionists have called for a mortgage strike to be introduced, if necessary, as part of a campaign for relief for homeowners who took out large home loans.

Addressing the biennial delegate conference of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Dave Hughes, the deputy general secretary general of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, said there should also be legislation to make financial treason a specific crime as well as a charter of fundamental rights to guarantee healthcare, education and accommodation.

The campaign would seek to have mortgages on principle private residences revised downwards to the current value of houses.

The proposal was supported by the National Union of Journalists and it will be debated by delegates at the conference in Killarney this afternoon.

Mr Hughes said that he was not talking about individuals failing to pay their mortgage. “We are proposing a collective web-based action which would not commence until 100,000 people have signed up and are prepared to go along with the action.

"The key to this campaign will be to separate your income stream and your saving from your mortgage account so you have freedom over your ability to pay or not to pay your debt,” he said.

“It would then involve a series of incremental actions which would allow those who need to know that there is a collective action going on and that we can move in unity with financial transactions. If that does not shock them enough and cause them enough reason to renegotiate then we would go to a mortgage strike.”

He said that the demand of the campaign should be “relief for those people who were fooled into paying enormous prices for over-valued houses and for whom the banks funded those loans”.

He said mortgages should be reduced to reflect the actual value of homes rather than "that inflated value”

The Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore is to address the conference this afternoon.