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‘Write to Leo’ Master of High Court tells litigants facing home repossession

Edmund Honohan adjourns two cases and instructs lay litigants to contact Taoiseach about applying for mortgage-to-rent scheme

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: Master of the High Court Edmund Honohan asked two lay litigants to return to his court next month to tell him the Taoiseach’s response. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Lay litigants facing the repossession of their homes were told to “write to Leo” and ask the Taoiseach to be allowed to avail of the mortgage-to-rent scheme, by the Master of the High Court on Friday.

Edmund Honohan, who has been sharply critical of Government policies on dealing with the mortgage arrears crisis, asked lay litigants to return to his court next month to tell him the Taoiseach’s response.

He told Ashling Coyne, a mother of three children living in Leenane, Co Galway and facing a judgment against her by KBC Bank, that she should contact Mr Varadkar. Ms Coyne told the court she and her husband, from whom she is separated, had been building a home in Westport, Co Mayo. Arrears have mounted on it. “It’s a bit of a disaster really,” said Mr Honohan. “Will you write to Mr Varadkar and ask him how do you get mortgage to rent? That’s Government policy you know. It’s Government policy that people should be kept in their homes on a mortgage-to-rent basis.

“This is a KBC case so you need to write to Leo Varadkar and ask where do you go to get the mortgage to rent scheme. Set out your circumstances.” He adjourned the case until December 8th.

‘Laughed at me’

Earlier, Peter Harris of Booterstown, Dublin, told the court he had consented to a possession on his home of 30 years in the Circuit Court on October 17th.

“My back was totally to the wall. I have been in John of God’s four times.”

The house was on the market but he needed time to sell and find somewhere else to live.

He applied to go on the housing list he said but the council “laughed at me”. The council advised him to present as homeless but he said he was still attending St John Of God’s and didn’t think he could survive homelessness.

“Would you think about going mortgage to rent?” Mr Honohan asked him.

“I’ve tried everything. I just want a bit of breathing space. I could try. I’ll try anything,” said Mr Harris.

“Will you write to Leo Varadkar and ask him where do you go to get the mortgage to rent scheme?”

Mr Harris said: “I will”.

The case was adjourned to December 8th.