Right now in Ireland there are 9,000 people homeless. Thousands more are on housing waiting lists and for a whole generation, home ownership is an aspiration beyond them.
Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments have failed them. But they’ve never failed the banks.
A decade ago, PTSB was bailed out with almost €3 billion in Irish taxpayers’ money. Today that bank is planning to sell off 14,000 family homes with distressed mortgages to vulture funds. Other banks are following suit.
People can’t repay their loans because the Irish banking cartel has implemented such high mortgage rates.
The vulture funds are unregulated, aggressive and vicious in their pursuit of profit.
When Sinn Féin proposed legislation to regulate vulture funds, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil refused to support it.
We urgently need to protect the homeowners by fully regulating the actual owner of the credit. But the government can do much more than this.
PTSB is three-quarters owned by the Irish public. The Government is the majority shareholder – it can direct the bank not to sell these distressed mortgages.
The ECB and the Commission, so quick to burden the Irish people with 42% of Europe’s bank debt, cannot now ignore a crisis they’ve had a hand in creating. The ECB is adopting a hard line on how some restructured mortgages are classified.
It needs to recognise the unique situation in the Irish state as it recovers and not make thousands of working families face dealing with vultures as a result of its guidelines on non-performing loans.
Banks should be prevented from selling distressed mortgages to vulture funds. For once, it’s time to side with mortgage holders instead of with the banks.
* Matt Carthy is a Sinn Féin MEP for Midlands-North-West. The above article is an extract from his addess last week to the plenary of the European Parliament in Brussels on the proposed sale by some Irish banks of thousands of distressed mortgages.