June 6, 2023
Struggling borrowers must be supported by the State and lenders – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, has called for the Government to introduce temporary and targeted mortgage interest relief, as mortgage-holders continue to struggle with rising interest rates.

The Donegal TD also called on the Central Bank to step up supervision of banks and vulture funds to ensure that alternative repayment arrangements and solutions are offered to those in financial difficulty as a result of rising costs.

Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:

“I welcome the joint initiative by MABS and the Banking and Payments Federation to encourage households facing rising mortgage costs to engage with banks and lenders.

“As a result of rising mortgage costs and interest rates, many people are under serious financial pressure.

“The Central Bank estimates that a quarter of households have seen their annual mortgage costs rise by more than €4,800 – this was before the most recent interest rate hike by the ECB in May.

“For any household, this is a significant income shock.

“As MABS recently warned, these interest rate hikes are having ‘disastrous effects’.

“While we welcome this joint initiative, there is an onus on banks and vulture funds to engage with borrowers and offer affordable solutions to those in difficulty.

“We have anecdotal evidence of vulture funds failing to engage with mortgage-holders, including those in pre-arrears.

“Let’s be clear – banks and vulture funds have obligations under the Code of Conduct to engage with borrowers who are at risk or concerned about going into arrears.

“The Central Bank must step up its supervision to ensure banks and vulture funds are honouring these obligations.

“There is also a responsibility on the State to support households struggling with these rising costs.

“Sinn Féin has proposed the introduction of temporary and targeted mortgage interest relief to support struggling households with the rise in their mortgage costs as a result of interest rate hikes.

“It is time to introduce this targeted and temporary support without delay.”

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