Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Finance Senator Darragh O’Brien has called on the Government to set a date for implementing an action plan to help struggling mortgage holders.
Senator O’Brien said: “It is now nearly three months since the Keane report on mortgage arrears was published, and the Government has failed to take any meaningful action to help homeowners in distress. The only step that has been taken is an increase in relief for first-time buyers who purchased their home between 2004 and 2008.
“However this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tackling the growing mortgage crisis in this country.
“In the last few days the Taoiseach Enda Kenny said action will be taken on this issue early this year. We have heard this before.
“Following the publication of the Keane report, Minister of State Brian Hayes promised that his Government would publish a detailed mortgage arrears implantation strategy before the Budget. This didn’t happen. Finance Minister Michael Noonan then promised that the strategy would be published before Christmas. This didn’t happen. Now the Taoiseach has again said that the Finance Minister intends to act on the recommendations in the Keane report early this year. Struggling mortgage holders are quite rightly wondering, what is taking so long?
“The Taoiseach has also said that a Personal Insolvency Bill will be published this month. While this is a welcome step, this Bill will deal with bankruptcy laws and will not help people to hold on to their homes.
“We are in a situation now where nearly 1 in 5 mortgage holders are in some level of difficulty. So far there has been no urgency from this Government to address this crisis. These homeowners need more than just another promise, they need a commitment from this Government with a detailed time-line on when policies will be implemented that will provide real support to families who are at risk of losing their homes.
“I am calling on the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance to name a date for the publication of a detailed action plan to tackle the mortgage crisis. The delays are inexcusable and only add to the distress of thousands of homeowners in difficulty.”