Government continues to sit on Keane Report as mortgage arrears crisis deepens – McGrath

Government continues to sit on Keane Report as mortgage arrears crisis deepens – McGrath

Govt received Keane report on 28 Sept 2011 and still no strategy announced

Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath has said the latest mortgage arrears statistics published by the Central Bank today underline once again the lack of a decisive Government strategy for dealing with the growing crisis.

Deputy McGrath stated, “According to the official figures published today, 107,708 mortgages or almost one in seven, are now in some level of difficulty. In truth, the actual picture is even worse. The Central Bank does not publish the number of mortgages in arrears of less than 90 days. However, we know from information released to the Oireachtas Finance Committee that some 46,634 mortgages were in arrears of less than 90 days at the end of June 2011. Therefore, the actual number of mortgages experiencing some level of distress is likely to be closer to one in five.

“The Keane report on mortgage arrears was presented to the Government on 28 September 2011. In the four and a half month period since, and despite repeated promises, the Government has refused to give its formal response to the Keane report and to lay out its overall strategy for dealing with the mortgage arrears crisis.

“Fianna Fáil’s bill to establish a non-judicial debt settlement system dealing with mortgage debt and other forms of personal debt passed second stage in Dáil Éireann last October and has been referred to the Justice committee. It seems we will be waiting several more months for the full version of Minister Shatter’s Personal Insolvency Bill.

“The Government also rejected Fianna Fáil’s Family Home Bill in the Seanad and has refused to take on board our bill to regulate firms offering debt management advice and household budgeting services.

“The Government’s approach to the mortgage arrears crisis has been characterised by inaction and indifference. The most worrying aspect of today’s figures is that the arrears crisis shows no signs of letting up. The Minister for Finance should come forward and make a statement to the Dáil setting which recommendations of the Keane report will be implemented. We need a clear statement on the Government’s strategy for dealing with this crisis.”

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