Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has called on the government to remove the bank veto and protect the family home. Speaking during debate in the Seanad on the Personal Insolvency Act, Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:
“I am not convinced this Bill will do the job required of it.
“What we have here is a conditional review of the bank veto rather than an outright removal.
“If I were to fall into arrears today or tomorrow, the banks will still have a veto over any arrangement.
“When this government’s’ obituary is written, the verdict will be that their abysmal failure to tackle Ireland’s debt crisis was one of their greatest failings.
“Today, we are dealing with personal and business debt.
“Four years into this government, four years of a spiralling mortgage arrears crisis, and only now are we taking half-hearted steps towards challenging the banks’ veto.
“This step is not the first action the government has taken.
“They allowed, in connivance with the Central Bank, the banks to meet their targets for mortgage arrangements through legal actions.
“Labour and Fine Gael might be happy to consider repossessing a family home as a ‘sustainable solution’ but Sinn Fein is not.
“They watered down the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears to favour the banks and removed the legal protection for the Family Home.
“This government let the banks off the leash and now we are seeing hundreds of repossession cases taking place across the State.
“The number of people in long term arrears is continuing to rise and the personal debt crisis is still with us and nothing substantial has been done to tackle it.
“The government must follow through on their promise and remove the banks’ veto not just for some, not just for a while, but comprehensively and permanently.”