FIANNA Fáil TD Willie O’Dea has described the 50% increase in court orders for sale and repossession of Limerick homes, in the first quarter of this year, as an “alarming escalation”.
Following the publication of the Central Bank’s Residential Mortgage Arrears and Repossessions figures, Deputy O’Dea said that Limerick is “reaping the effects...of four years of Government inaction on mortgage arrears”.
“In recent weeks, there has been a flurry of ministerial announcements with the purpose of giving the impression of action. However, it will be months yet before any legislative changes are implemented.
“In the meantime, dozens of families in Limerick are being brought through the courts and face imminent risk of losing their home. This is as a direct result of the government consistent refusal to listen to advice on this issue,” he stated this week.
The former Minister for Defence said a dedicated mortgage to rent scheme “to tackle sky high level of arrears in the sub-prime” sector was a “possible” course of action.
“The state of the sub-prime sector is truly shocking. More than 50% of these mortgages are in arrears and 25% are greater than two years behind in their payment.
“The situation is showing no sign of improvement. I have regularly highlighted the need for specific action in relation to these loans which were issued outside the mainstream banking sector,” he said.
O’Dea said a “complete culture change” is required by the banks to tackle the problem.
“There is still considerable doubt about the quality of restructurings that are being offered to families, many of these are little more than sticking plaster solution. Innovative arrangements such as split mortgages are only being offered in a small number of cases,” he said.