Banks can no longer ‘kick the can down the road’ on mortgage crisis, says Minister

Central Bank code on mortgage arrears a ‘charter for home repossessions’, FF says

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton: “This process will help the country by helping distressed borrowers and families to keep a roof over their heads.” Photograph: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton: “This process will help the country by helping distressed borrowers and families to keep a roof over their heads.” Photograph: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

 


Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has defended the new Central Bank code on mortgage arrears as a process to help distressed borrowers keep a roof over their heads.

Fianna Fail’s Billy Kelleher claimed in the Dáil the new code was a “charter for home repossessions” which favoured the bank with no independent oversight. He said the banks “will become very aggressive in repossessing homes”.

But Ms Burton insisted: “This is a process which must be pursued in the interests of recovery for the country and the families concerned to the point where debts will be sustainable.”

She said “kicking the can down the road ... is not sustainable if the families are so indebted that they cannot sustain where they are living”.

She added: “This process will help the country by helping distressed borrowers and families to keep a roof over their heads.”

But Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald pointed to remarks by former Anglo Irish chief executive David Drumm that he planned to go to the Central Bank with his arms swinging to demand “the moolah” for his bankrupt bank. She said: “There will be no option for struggling families to refuse to pay the moolah or to pluck the figures from their posterior.”

Ms Burton said: “We have to deal with the catastrophe visited on the country and its people.” A process had been set up with the structures in place to allow families to come to sustainable solutions, she added.

Independent TD Clare Daly said 26 members of the Czech parliament were currently in custody for crimes of a less serious nature than what went on in Ireland five years ago when the “banking crime of the century, the theft of billions” took place and “nothing has been done”.

Ms Burton told her they all had to be circumspect about matters that were due to come before the courts next year.