David Norris proposes housing co-op to take over distressed mortgages

Independent Senator warns against influence of ‘bloody vulture funds’

Senator David Norris. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Senator David Norris. Photograph: Dave Meehan


A national housing co-operative to take over distressed mortgages has been proposed by Independent Senator David Norris.

Introducing a Private Member’s Bill in the Seanad on Wednesday, Mr Norris said the co-operative would take over the mortgages at the current value and then remortgage the property or rent it back to the owner to allow people stay in their houses.

“I do not understand how the bloody vulture funds got into this country in the first place and how they were given this privileged status,’’ he added.

Introducing the National Housing Co-operative Bill 2017 in the Seanad, Mr Norris said homelessness was a disaster facing the country.

The authorities, he said, could not deal with 7,000 people being homeless.

“What happens when that number increases to 10,000, 20,000, 30,000, 40,000 or 50,000 people, as will surely happen when Allied Irish Banks, under the instructions of the European Central Bank, unloads the distressed mortgages ?’’ Mr Norris asked.

Fine Gael Senator Kieran O’Donnell said there should be consideration of whether the banks must step to the plate and accept their share of responsibility in giving mortgages to people.

“They were being doled out like confetti,’’ he added.

Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh said that, as legislators, they were facing the question of whether the Government would continue to condone evictions.

“This is not a perfect Bill, but we do not deal with perfect Bills,’’ she added.