Sunday 25 February 2018

Tanaiste rejects claim new repossessions law will allow for ‘open season’ on families

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has denied that it will be "open season" for bank repossessions of family homes next year.

He was challenged in the Dail about the Government’s plan in the New Year to close a legal loophole preventing banks from repossessing properties tied to bad loans.

Independent TD Shane Ross said it would be “open season” for the banks who would now have a free run at home owners.

But Mr Gilmore said the Government was bringing in measures to help people keep their homes – such as those in the current personal insolvency bill.

“This Government has made it very clear that we want to keep people living in their own home and that we want to avoid people’s homes being repossessed,” he said.

Last year, the High Court ruled that banks could repossess the homes only of those in mortgage arrears who had been issued with a demand for full repayment before December 1 2009. This was due to the failure of the previous Government to keep part of old legislation when it brought in the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act in 2009. The Government has agreed to a request from the Troika to close this loophole in the New Year.

At Leader’s Questions in the Dail, Mr Ross criticised the decision to choose the Revenue Commissioners to collect the property tax. He said they were the “heavy gang” who were going to deduct it from the wages and social welfare payments of people who could not afford to pay.

But Mr Gilmore said the Revenue Commissioners had been chosen because they were the agency that collected tax.

“If we were to do something otherwise, you would have a column in your Sunday newspaper or be up on stage with your compatriots talking about the waste of state resources in having multiple agencies doing what one agency could do,” he said.

Mr Gilmore was referred to Mr Ross’s role in the “Four Angry Men” show about the current economic crisis which is currently touring the country.

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