People in mortgage arrears will find FF’s opportunism hard to stomach

-   Alan Farrell TD

“Today in Dáil Éireann Micheál Martin engaged in blatant scaremongering by trying to create the impression that there would be a massive rise in repossessions as a result of the mortgage arrears legislation. In doing this he is deliberately trying to frighten homeowners who are in arrears.

“People are hurting and Fianna Fáil is blatantly trying to take advantage of the misery it created for their own political gain. This is not only irresponsible but cynical in the extreme.

“Having been a senior Cabinet member of the Government which bankrupted the country and forced tens of thousands of people into mortgage arrears, Micheál Martin has now reinvented himself as a champion of those in mortgage distress. If my mortgage was in arrears and my property in negative equity, I would find Micheál Martin’s opportunism very hard to stomach.

“The clear objective of this legislation is to enable tens of thousands of people in mortgage difficulty to stay in their family homes, by re-structuring their loans to make them more affordable. It is complete nonsense to suggest that thousands of families in financial distress will be forced out of their homes, as has been claimed.

“New targets stipulate that: by the end-June 2013 the banks should have proposed sustainable mortgage solutions for 20% of distressed borrowers. By end September 2013 this will have reached 30% and by the end of 2013 the banks should have proposed sustainable mortgage solutions for 50% of distressed borrowers.

“Micheál Martin has also criticised the Government for a delay in addressing this issue. The simple fact is that the legislation to address this issue was inadequate when Fine Gael came into Government. Minister Shatter has had to introduce extremely complicated personal insolvency legislation to properly tackle this issue, a bill which I have worked on for several months as a member of the Justice, Equality & Defence Committee.

“Micheál Martin and his Party’s disingenuous concern for mortgage holders in arrears is cynical and opportunistic.”

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