Wednesday 28 September 2016

Government must take banks to task

Published 03/04/2015 | 02:30

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has urged the banks – saved by the taxpayer at considerable ongoing costs – to have some regard for those same taxpayers (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has urged the banks – saved by the taxpayer at considerable ongoing costs – to have some regard for those same taxpayers (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Many of us have a mix of negative emotions when it comes to our view of the banks. In the past eight years we have learned why we cannot live with them, and more cogently why we cannot live without them.

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Now Taoiseach Enda Kenny has urged the banks - saved by the taxpayer at considerable ongoing costs - to have some regard for those same taxpayers. Mr Kenny has pointed out that banks are back in the black and must now cut hard-pressed mortgage holders some slack.

Today, this newspaper brings the harsh news that a couple need to earn an average of more than €2,500 a year extra to cover a variable-rate mortgage, compared with a couple in similar circumstances on a tracker mortgage. It is a more stark way of telling the same story, which is that some families on variable rate mortgages are not getting fair play.

The news comes amid contacts between the Government and the Central Bank in efforts to resolve the issue. We must acknowledge that the problem is complex and an unduly heavy-handed approach by the authorities could create more problems for taxpayers by impairing the banks' stability.

But the absence of easy solutions is no excuse for inertia.

Irish Independent

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