A housing charity is calling on banks to write off all mortgage arrears for families finding it difficult to repay their loans.

The non-profit housing association, Respond, is also calling for banks to renegotiate mortgage repayments in line with people's ability to pay.

As part of the deal to recapitalise AIB and Bank of Ireland to the tune of €7 billion, the banks agreed not to start court proceedings to secure repossession of people's homes for a year after arrears began to appear.

But housing charity Respond says that does not remove the fear of repossession for families, it simply delays the inevitable.

The charity is calling for banks to write-off arrears and allow families renegotiate renegotiate repayments to a level appropriate to their current income.

It says the measure should be brought in as a short term one which could be reviewed with payments increasing as income does.