Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillors had an emergency motion dealing with house repossessions by the banks passed at Monday’s meeting of Wicklow County Council. The motion was tabled in light of the growing number of house repossession cases before the court service in Wicklow and the alarming number of evictions.
Proposing the motion Sinn Féin Councillor Gerry O'Neill said “There are an alarming number of cases before the courts in Wicklow for house repossessions. Recently the banks had over 80 cases listed on the same day. I know many people who are in danger of being made homeless or who have had their homes repossessed by the banks. The motion i proposed condemns the banks and calls on the Government to immediately intervene and bring forward legislation to protect the family home.”
Cllr John Brady who seconded the motion continued “Unfortunately Fine Gael and Labour through the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013 have facilitated the repossession of family homes by lenders. Over 30,034 letters relating to repossessions and the voluntary surrender of homes, including family homes were issued last year by the main financial lenders. In Wicklow alone there are currently 255 active bills for repossession lodged by banks, of which over 80 were listed recently in the courts in the County.”
Brady continued “Recently the Central Bank provided a county-by-county breakdown of mortgage arrears figures. The average level of mortgage distress nationally, measured by mortgage accounts in arrears of 90 days or more, is 11.2%. In Wicklow its estimated there are over 11,500 mortgages in arrears and slightly ahead of the nationally average. This means one mortgage in six in Wicklow is in arrears. Many of these are unsustainable as currently configured. That is the stark reality, yet banks, Ministers and Government bury their head in the sand and pretend the type of low-paid precarious jobs they have been creating will solve the problem. It won’t. The lack of leadership on this issue is astounding.”
“It is painfully obvious that this government has not done enough to help those struggling with arrears. MABS and other support agencies are inundated with calls and many, many families continue to suffer in silence. Sinn Féin, amongst others, have consistently called for an independent body with the power to enforce legally binding judgements on banks and on mortgage holders. The fact that banks continue to have a veto is simply unacceptable, as is their willingness to revert to threats of repossession.”
Cllr Brady went onto say “The Irish people bailed out the banks to the tune of €64billion, the government has now given the same banks the effective go-ahead to evict families from their homes. This is a false economy as when made homeless those families will have to turn to the State for housing assistance.”
Cllr O'Neill concluded “I’m delighted the Sinn Féin motion which calls for immediate action from the government was supported by the council. We have a serious homelessness problem in Wicklow and we certainly don’t need people being evicted from their homes by the banks adding to it. The government need to put immediate measures in place to tackle the crisis.”