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Monday 16 July 2018

'Banks should repay what is owed and pay compensation immediately', says Varadkar as he reveals he has a tracker mortgage

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar answers Chambers call for M20 route to be completed, at Cork Chamber’s Business Breakfast at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar answers Chambers call for M20 route to be completed, at Cork Chamber’s Business Breakfast at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar revealed he holds a tracker mortgage as he angrily warned that the deadline was yesterday for Irish banks to repay people who they had wrongly taken off such mortgages.

Mr Varadkar, speaking as the Cabinet staged its first meeting in Cork in 12 years, hit out at the appalling manner in which banks had treated some customers.

His comments came after tracker mortgage holders who had been wrongly taken off the special lending rate addressed the Oireachtas.

The Irish Mortgage Holders Association (IMHA) warned that the tracker scandal was the single biggest consumer rip-off in the history of the State.

Some of those who were wrongly taken off tracker mortgages said their health and mental health had suffered as they faced massively increased mortgage payments as a result.

A total of 20,000 cases have so far been detected but it is believed the final total could reach 30,000 cases.

"I am not sure if we have any plans to set a date or deadline or whether we can even do that within the powers that we have as a Government," the Taoiseach said.

"But as far as I am concerned the date should be yesterday.

"Any bank, whether it is partly owned by the State or not, (that) took people off tracker mortgages incorrectly should put that right and should have put that right yesterday.

"They should repay what is owed, offer an apology and pay compensation.

"I am somebody that has a tracker mortgage and in many ways it has been a God-send.

"It has meant that my mortgage has been very affordable in years gone by

"I can only imagine what it would have been if it had been 4pc or 5pc or 6pc."

Mr Varadkar noted that some people have suffered very badly as a result of the banks' wrongful actions.

"There are many people and many families driven to distraction and endured enormous mental health traumas amid fears of what will happen to their families," he said.

"Those things should never have happened."

"So as far as I am concerned the deadline (for repayment) is yesterday."

"Any bank that wrongfully took somebody off a tracker (mortgage), should apologise, they should pay all the money back and they should do it yesterday."

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