Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, has said the government can and must introduce time-limited mortgage interest relief for homeowners hit by interest rate increases.
The Donegal TD was speaking as he launched his party’s motion, which will be debated in the Dáil on Tuesday, that calls on the government to act on this issue.
Teachta Doherty said:
“Rising mortgage rates are putting homeowners under severe financial pressure.
“Particularly in the context of last week’s forecast of a General Government surplus in excess of €10 billion this year, it is unforgivable that the government is doing nothing to help them.
“Last month, the European Central Bank increased its main lending rate for the sixth time since July 2022 from 0 percent to 3.5 percent, and is due to meet again in the next two weeks to consider further increases.
“Mortgage repayments are rising by colossal amounts – thousands of euros a year.
“Some people are now paying interest rates of up to 8%.
“People are seriously struggling as a result and the Free Legal Advice Centre tells us that many are now at risk of falling into arrears.
“Rising mortgage rates are also putting the possibility of buying a home beyond the reach of another generation of aspiring first-time buyers, many of whom are already suffering with crippling rents and rising house prices due to the government’s failure to deliver affordable housing.
“Sinn Féin has repeatedly called for the introduction of temporary mortgage interest relief, which would support struggling mortgage holders by up to €1,500.
“The government has failed to listen and now the situation is approaching a crisis point if they continue to refuse to take any action.
“The government can and must reverse its previous position and mandate the Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath, to commit to his previous position on this issue in 2018 when he supported mortgage interest relief.
“Such a measure is sensible, affordable and necessary.”