No across-the-board mortgage write-downs - Michael Noonan

Thursday 14 March 2013 19.23
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has ruled out an across-the-board write-down of mortgage debt
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has ruled out an across-the-board write-down of mortgage debt

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has ruled out an across-the-board write-down of mortgage debt.

Mr Noonan told the Dáil that any write down would be done on a case-by-case basis.

He was responding to Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty, who asked why the proposals published yesterday did not include prescriptive measures, including debt write-down.

He said that after two years, the Government were doing nothing, and that the banks would do the "bare minimum".

Mr Noonan said he had expressed his concern with the "tardiness" of the banks, but said solutions will be offered to families.

He told Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin that repossessions would be a "residual option in extremis".

Mr Martin said the Secretary General of the Department of Finance, John Moran, and the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Mathew Elderfield, had said there must be a "significant increase" in repossessions, which was very different from the view being put forward by the Government.

Mr Noonan said without the threat of repossession, the deeds held by banks as collateral for home loans were worth nothing.

Independent Shane Ross said there could be no repossessions without new legislation to close the legal loophole identified in a High Court judgement, and asked if that legislation would be properly debated before it was introduced and "opened the floodgates".

Mr Noonan said the heads of the Bill had been approved by Cabinet this week, and Minister for Justice Alan Shatter hoped to have it brought into low before the summer, but there would be full debate.

New Beginning concludes debt relief deals

New Beginning, the organisation which represents distressed borrowers, has said that it has concluded a number of deals in the past few days which have included debt relief for mortgage holders.

The development follows the announcement yesterday by the Central Bank and the Government of a new regime to speed up solutions for those in arrears.

At a personal insolvency conference in Dublin today, the director of the Insolvency Service of Ireland, Lorcan O'Connor, said that the service would begin a public information campaign in the coming weeks.

He added that the service would also be launching a guide and website showing sample scenarios for people who avail of personal insolvency.

He outlined details of a register of people who applied for insolvency and said the register would be public, would include the name, address and date of birth of applicants and which arrangement they had applied for.