Advocates for distressed mortgage holders have described the Government's new measures to help those in difficulty as a step in the right direction.

Extra measures to deal with the mortgage crisis were approved at a special Cabinet meeting this afternoon.

Speaking afterwards, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said they would be extending the range of options available to those in mortgage difficulty.

He said the Government would be removing the so-called bank veto on settlements, extending the mortgage-to-rent scheme and giving MABS an additional role to act as a friend to those in mortgage distress.

Courts will be given the power to review and, where appropriate, to approve insolvency deals that have been rejected by banks.

The mortgage-to-rent scheme will be expanded, including by increasing property value thresholds that apply.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has said she believes the insolvency service, with the added power given to banks, will be helpful to a much broader group than it's currently reaching.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Ms Fitzgerald refused to be drawn on whether the Government had got it wrong and said the Governnent has reviewed the insolvency service, adding that the new measures are a development.

With regard to the mortgage-to-rent scheme that is to be expanded, the Minister said that it's a further reaching out, with the goal of making it easier for people.

Ms Fitzgerald said there will be greater funding made available to MABS - making the service a centre of excellence for those in mortgage arrears.

David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders Association says its now incumbent on banks, the Government and the Central Bank to cease all repossession proceedings against distressed borrowers until all the new changes are put in place.

Mr Hall also said the measures amount to a Government admission of a failed process for the last four years.  

He said he is concerned that there will not be funding available for the mortgage-to-rent scheme that is now been broadened. 

Michael Culloty of MABS said that the removal of the bank's veto will help to alleviate some of the imbalance, in that the creditors decision is not the final one. 

He said that the decision by the courts would be independent of creditor and debtor and that it is welcomed.

With regard to the mortgage-to-rent scheme, Mr Culloty said that he hopes the process will be simplified, adding that the old scheme was cumbersome.

He said that today's announcement places MABS right back into the Government's frame as being its primary initial response to over-indebtedness.

He added that MABS will be setting up a unit for those who are past the mortgage arrears resolution process.