Kenny vows to protect homeowners
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Taoiseach Enda Kenny marking the Coalition's second year in office. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien/The Irish Times
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said they wanted to see more progress in dealing with mortgage distress when they launched a progress report on their two years in Government.
Mr Kenny said the Coalition’s main goal in the next year was to successfully exit the IMF-EU bailout programme, while continuing to reduce borrowing and debt to “sustainable” levels.
“We’ll do more to accelerate a solution to the mortgage crisis so that as many individuals and families as possible are offered sustainable solutions,” Mr Kenny said.
“What we want here is a process that is transparent and fair,” he said.
Mr Kenny said he expected the doors of the personal insolvency agency to be open for business by early summer.
He hoped a legislative strategy to deal with a “lacuna” in the law could be issued next week. A legal loophole was highlighted in a 2011 judgement by Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne which prohibits banks from repossessing a property taken as security prior to December 1st, 2009, unless a letter of demand has also been issued prior to that date.
He said the Government was not looking for “claps on the back or credit”. The Coalition had progressed satisfactorily two-thirds of its Programme for Government commitments two years into its term of office, “and because they have a sense of stability has returned to the country”.
The “haemorrhaging” of jobs had stopped in the last 15 months and the corporate tax rate had been protected. “We have kept our promises in respect of tax and social welfare.”
Mr Gilmore said social reforms would be the hallmark of a modern Ireland. He said relations between Fine Gael and Labour were not strained. In normal circumstances, the largest and second largest parties would be “looking across the chamber at each other”, but the Coalition partners had come together at a time of crisis.
They remained separate parties were distinct identities and histories. “This Government is working well together and is going to go the full course,” Mr Gilmore said.
Earlier this week, Mr Kenny pledged that the Government will do more in the year ahead to get people back to work and will introduce further reform of the welfare system as part of that process.
Writing in Monday’s Irish Times to he acknowledged that far too many people could not find work or have had to emigrate.
“The economic recovery cannot be allowed to bypass those families most hurt by the collapse,” he said.
Responding to the report, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the defining characteristics of the Government was one of “broken promises”. The public trust in the political system was at an “all time low” and the actions of the Government had contributed “significantly to that”.
The motto of the Government seemed to be “headline first” and they were concerned with “spin”, he said.