July 9, 2020
Covid penalty rip-off needs to end – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has said that the Covid penalty and rip-off of bank customers needs to end and that the former Taoiseach needs to explain why his version of events contradicts that of everyone else.

Teachta Doherty said:

“It is now clear that the banks were ripping customers off and that they misled the government in respect of mortgage interest.

“It is now clear that Leo Varadkar was asleep at the wheel and didn’t know what was going on.

“It is also clear that the banks and the former Taoiseach are trying to come up with a cover story that will continue to see customers ripped off.

“The minutes of the meeting between the former Taoiseach and the CEOs of the five retail banks are clear. 

“The banks misinformed the former Taoiseach and the Minister of Finance when they said that they were required by the regulator to charge additional interest on mortgage breaks.

“Yesterday, the spokesperson for the Banking and Payments Federation defended this position and stated that it only became clear on Tuesday that interest did not have to be charged. This is totally untrue. The Governor of the Central Banks clarified this to me weeks ago and the Spanish government waived interest for bank customers as early as March.

“Now we have the former Taoiseach creating a new narrative on the floor of the Dáil when he said, ‘Banks never claimed that they couldn’t waive interest for that period… They did say it would be possible to waive interest for that period.’ This completely contradicts the minutes of the meeting on 11th May and the public comments of the BPFI spokesperson who was also in attendance.

“This is beyond farcical and the former Taoiseach needs to explain why his version of events contradicts that of everyone else.

“The Covid penalty for customers taking a mortgage break needs to end. The fact is that the banks are charging nearly twice the interest rate of banks across Europe; costing families under pressure thousands of euro.

“Banks should not be allowed to profiteer on the back of the pandemic and it beggars belief that Leo Varadkar believes that banks won’t profit from this rip-off.” 

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