The rate at which homes are being repossessed has increased by more than 500 per cent since last year, according to figures from the Courts Service.
Some 586 repossession orders were granted by the circuit court in the first three months of this year, compared with 95 in the same period last year. Of the 586, some 383 were for primary homes, 97 were for buy-to-lets and 106 were “unknown”.
Some 210 applications for repossession were refused.
The greatest number granted was in Dublin circuit court where, between January and March, 100 repossession orders were granted, of which 63 were for primary homes, 19 were for buy-to-lets and 18 were unknown.
In Cork, 75 orders were granted (57 primary homes, three buy-to-lets and 15 unknown), followed by 39 in Laois (35 primary homes and four buy-to-lets) and 36 in Wexford (10 primary homes, three buy-to-lets and 23 unknown).
The fewest granted were in Sligo, where one order was made for a buy-to-let, and Carlow, where five orders were granted – two for primary homes and three for buy-to-lets.
In contrast, in the first quarter of last year, of the 95 repossession orders granted, 33 were in Dublin circuit court, nine were in Cork and seven were in Waterford, with six in each of Laois, Wexford and Tipperary.
In the High Court, which does not give a county breakdown, some 29 cases were initiated in the first quarter of this year and 25 repossession orders were granted.
A spokesman for the Courts Service said it was important to note that the making of a court order for possession did not necessarily mean that the applicant had obtained possession of the property affected.
“It is a matter for the person or company who obtained the order for possession to pursue its execution. The Courts Service does not have statistics on the number of actual repossessions.”
As previously reported by The Irish Times, as of January 1st, some 7,101 civil repossession bills have been lodged across the State's 26 circuit courts. This is thought to have risen to about 8,000 bills before the courts now.
The dramatic increase in the rate of orders granted since last year will further increase pressure on Government, grappling with a housing and homelessness crisis, to introduce accessible solutions to help households in mortgage arrears stay in their family homes.
Solutions the Government is said to be considering are easier access to arrangements such as split mortgage or mortgage-to-rent schemes.
The institution which has been granted the most repossession orders so far this year is Permanent TSB, which was granted possession of 175 homes in the first quarter. It had 88 applications refused.
Ulster Bank was granted 82 repossession orders and had 44 refused.
Some 55 orders were granted to EBS Limited with 30 applications refused. KBC Bank Ireland was granted repossession orders for 50 primary homes, 16 buy-to-lets and 10 unknown; four orders were refused.
One surprising player in the statistics is Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council, which was granted three repossession orders in the first quarter, one for a primary home, one buy-to-let and one unknown. It was also refused one application.