No need to curb house repossessions - Lenihan


A TOTAL of 20 homes were legally repossessed by the six financial institutions covered by the State guarantee in the nine months to the end of September “in the entire State”, according to Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan who has rejected calls for a two-year moratorium on house repossessions.

During the ongoing committee stage of the legislation on impaired banks, Labour finance spokeswoman Joan Burton introduced an amendment calling for a two-year moratorium.

But rejecting the call, Mr Lenihan said there was no “avalanche of repossessions” in the guaranteed institutions, which he said the Labour Party leader had claimed. Most of the repossessions involved subprime lenders, Mr Lenihan said.

Ms Burton asked if the Minister had been “conscientiously studying the Hoover administration and how they made the Great Depression worse because he seems determined to take those kind of actions which will make a difficult situation worse”.

The percentage of homeowners in arrears was notably lower than for investors and, in the three months to June, there was a marked slowdown in the growth of arrears from the first quarter, Mr Lenihan said.

The Government’s mortgage subsidy scheme provided a safety net for 14,000 people in difficulties meeting the interest costs on their mortgages, he said adding that all mortgage lenders must wait six months before any enforcement action and the two recapitalised banks (AIB and Bank of Ireland) have a 12-month moratorium.