Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has responded to today’s Statistical Release on Retail Interest Rates by the Central Bank by calling on banks to cut interest rates for Irish borrowers, who now suffer the highest mortgage interest rates in the EU.
He also said that the release, which shows the average mortgage interest rate in November stood at more than twice the EU average – underlined the threat posed by Ulster Bank withdrawing from the Irish market.
Teachta Doherty said:
“Today’s release by the Central Bank shows that the average mortgage interest rate for Irish borrowers in November, at 2.79 percent, is the highest in Europe and more than twice the EU average.
“This results in Irish borrowers paying thousands more in interest per year than the average European borrower.
“In September, I called on lenders to follow new entrant and Spanish-owned lender Avant Money by cutting their interest rates, after it offered fixed and variable rates below the current rip-off average being offered by Irish banks.
“That Avant Money is able to offer lower interest rates is proof that these high interest rates can be reduced.
“Today’s release by the Central Bank also underlines the serious threat posed by the exit of Ulster Bank from the Irish market.
“As the Deputy Governor confirmed to me in written correspondence on 2nd December, the withdrawal of Ulster Bank could lead to higher interest rates and weaker credit availability.
“Given mortgage interest rates are already the highest in the EU, the threat this poses to borrowers cannot be overstated.
“The Minister for Finance must make the future of Ulster Bank a priority in the months ahead.”