Dáil debates motion to protect mortgage holders

Tuesday 04 March 2014 22.46
Michael McGrath had called on the Government to support the bill
Michael McGrath had called on the Government to support the bill

The Dáil this evening began debating a private members motion aimed at protecting thousands of mortgage holders with the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.

Fianna Fáil's Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath, who has proposed the legislation, said through the code of conduct of mortgage arrears and access to the financial services ombudsman protection would be provided to the mortgage holders in question.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan earlier advised that the Residential Mortgage Account Holders Bill 2014 be allowed to pass to Committee stage.

Mr McGrath told the Dáil this evening, there are "four giant equities left" in the race for the €1.8bn IBRC loan book.

He said the indications were that there was more interest by those "giants" in the non-performing loan book.

He suggested they would make "50 cent in €1 profit" in respect of the loans.

Fianna Fáil’s Eamon Ó Cuiv said by making the decision to liquidate IBRC the Government has exposed "ordinary citizens who acted in good faith and expected their mortgages would get the same protection as all the mortgages that became part of this process".

He said the legislation was "as urgent as the legislation we sat up all night to pass when you decided to liquidate the IBRC".

He urged the Government to put the same effort into protecting ordinary people that it put into the decision to liquidate the bank. 

Earlier the Government said it will not be opposing the Fianna Fáil bill.

In a statement, Mr Noonan said the Government fully accepted the principle of the bill, but said as drafted it does not provide full protection for mortgage holders.

He said the Government would address those specific concerns in the Dáil during the debate.

The firms bidding to buy the loans have said they will voluntarily adhere to the Central Bank code.

The Dáil debate will continue tomorrow evening.