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The Banks Must Get Realistic With People

Speaking in the Dail yesterday I said that that the banks must start engaging with people in a more realistic way on the issue of mortgage arrears. Local authorities must also speed up the process of providing housing.

” We acknowledge the work done by Mr. David Hall, the Money Advice & Budgeting Service, MABS, and other groups. From speaking with a large number of people in recent weeks, the arrogance being shown to them by banks is unsustainable. In that time, I have gone with people to try to resolve problems, but the banks hold all the cards and are telling people what to do. This cannot continue. We must bear something in mind that when the banks knocked on the former Government’s door in the middle of the night in their hour of need, we as a nation put €65 billion behind them. Now, when people in family homes across the country genuinely need help, the banks are giving them the two fingers”.

“There is a fear among families. An old saying down the country is that, when poverty comes in the door, love goes out the window. There are people are living in dire straits. The Government must consider all of the knock-on effects on families, for example, of things like separations or something that none of us wish to hear about, namely, suicide. It has happened. Banks have much to answer for, given their arrogance. Pressure must be put on the Central Bank to ensure the banks engage in a constructive way. The priority must be to protect the family home, which is part of the fabric of Irish society and of enormous importance to all families, especially where there are young children”

“We talk all the time in here about what must be done to resolve housing issues in different parts of the country. I attended a meeting in Leitrim this wee where I spoke to the local authority’s housing officers, as I have done in the case of various councils. There is always discussion about building houses and so on. The reality, however, is that something might be announced in October, but by the time the greenfield site is ready, planning is secured and so on, it will probably be a year or 14 months before the project is up and running. What can we do when people are under pressure but there are no houses in which to accommodate them? There was a case in my own area where a family was evicted and, within five years, the State, through the provision of rent allowance, had paid back the price of the house, in which somebody else was now living. It just doesn’t make any sense”