Mortgage crisis at centre of issues for constituency
on 26/03/2013 00:00:00
On the last day of campaigning before the broadcasting moratorium set in, Fianna Fáil launched a bill to establish an independent mortgage resolution office.
Under its proposals, a person in mortgage distress could apply to that office to have a mortgage resolution order issued.
The office would have a range of options, including splitting the mortgage, applying an interest rate reduction, applying a debt for equity swap and, in certain circumstances, writing down the mortgage.
The party's finance spokesman, Michael McGrath, said the mortgage arrears crisis "is getting out of control" and the measures announced by government will "shift the balance of power very firmly in favour of the banks".
He said Fianna Fáil wants to "put the borrowers back in the driving seat" with the bill that will be debated in the Dáil over the coming weeks.
Mr Byrne said: "One in four families nationwide are in some kind of mortgage difficulty. I don't have the figures for Meath, they are not publicly available, but I'd suggest that it's higher in Meath."
He also criticised the planned new guidelines on how banks can deal with debtors under the new Personal Insolvency Service: "We can't let banks just decide how things go and what people pay on their health insurance, and can they bring their child to the crèche," he said.
Sinn Féin also launched a bill yesterday proposing to repeal the property tax. Its finance spokesman, Pearse Doherty, promised the party would scrap the tax if it was in Government.
"This tax was signed off on by Fianna Fáil and has been taken up by the Fine Gael and Labour," he said.
Describing the method of collection for the tax as "brutal" he said: "Those who are accepted as being unable to pay face a 4% penalty next year, while those who can't pay but are not recognised as being unable to pay, face a 8% penalty."
He added: "The Government will raid salaries, social welfare payments and pensions to extract this tax on the family home."