Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, has called on the Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath, to give much-needed mortgage relief for homeowners.
The Donegal TD was speaking ahead of his party’s motion, to be debated in the Dáil on Wednesday, which calls on the government to introduce timely, targeted and temporary mortgage interest relief to support borrowers struggling with rising interest rates.
Teachta Doherty said:
“Mortgage holders are seeing a large rise in their interest costs as a result of interest rate hikes by the ECB.
“Last week’s hike was the fifth since July. That means that borrowers will be paying thousands of euros more in interest this year and others are likely to see their interest rates increase in the coming period
“In the grip of a cost of living crisis, with sharp and significant rises in interest costs, now is the right time to introduce timely, targeted and temporary mortgage interest relief.
“The now Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath, while in opposition in 2015, described mortgage relief as ‘a very important support for families’ and that ‘the process of withdrawing it from existing homeowners at the same time as they are subject to a residential property tax highlights a government that is pursuing policies that are making home ownership increasingly unaffordable for families’.
“Sinn Féin agrees with Minister McGrath’s then assessment but considers it an apt description of the policies of the current Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Green Party government.
“Minister McGrath’s U-turn on this issue, as confirmed by his statements last week that he has no plans to introduce mortgage interest relief despite his previous calls in opposition, suggests Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael cannot be trusted to support homeownership or homeowners.
“What Sinn Féin is proposing is different to the mortgage interest relief that existed in the past, which was based simply on the total interest paid on a mortgage loan.
“Instead, it would provide mortgage interest relief equivalent to 30 percent of increased interest costs relative to June 2022 up to but not exceeding €1,500 per annum.
“The measure is temporary and the measure is targeted – it would provide relief on increased interest costs as a result of interest rate rises.
“We would also work with the Central Bank to enhance the supervision of vulture funds in the interests of struggling borrowers, and we would examine the taxation of the banking sector including the treatment of corporation tax loss relief.
“These proposals would absorb a portion of borrowers’ increased interest costs as a result of rate hikes since June. This measure is sensible, affordable and necessary.”