GOVERNOR of the Central Bank Patrick Honohan has put the boot into those borrowers he claims are deliberately not paying their mortgages.
He accused some mortgage holders of playing a "wait-and-see game" instead of paying up.
These mortgage holders are blaming others like banks and the Government instead of facing up to their financial problems. They are refusing to come to terms with the collapse of their incomes.
He said these people had a legal obligation to pay debts.
But this "is blurred in their minds by a sense of moral outrage directed at others: co-decision-makers, lenders, the wider political and economic system".
The Central Bank boss stressed that these over-indebted people were partly responsible for their own situation.
He told the Society of Actuaries: "We have all heard the anecdotes about well-heeled borrowers flatly refusing to pay their mortgage instalments despite having plenty of money in a current account to do so, and still taking expensive holidays or buying new 132-reg cars."
But he questioned if this was the case for most people who are in arrears. A cash shortage was the reason most of the almost 100,000 homeowners found themselves three months or more behind on their mortgage repayments, he said.
The protections from repossession in the Central Bank's code on mortgage arrears (up to recently, lenders had to wait a year before repossessing a home) and the now-removed High Court judgment on repossession had encouraged a wait-and-see approach to mortgage repayments.
But that has now changed. The arrears code only gives three months' protection from repossession for those who are not co-operating with their borrower, and banks have had their legal rights to repossess restored.
And he accused banks of over-use of repossessions and legal threats to deal with the home-loans crisis.
In the speech, which was delivered on Monday but only released yesterday, he said some people were paying electricity bills ahead of the mortgage because they fear the lights will be shut off.
But the governor dismissed the term "strategic defaulter", which he said was not suitable in this country, as people can't just walk away from their debts the way they can in the US.
By Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor