Friday 20 April 2018

Brendan O'Connor: Banks won't act on fear of little guy going bust

Lenders need far more than vague incentives to do right by homeowners in trouble with their mortgages, writes Brendan O'Connor

DON'T BANK ON IT: German Chancellor Angela Merkel with Taoiseach Enda Kenny during last week's EU
leaders' summit in Brussels
DON'T BANK ON IT: German Chancellor Angela Merkel with Taoiseach Enda Kenny during last week's EU leaders' summit in Brussels
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Friday morning's EUphoria aside, one thing we have learnt from the ongoing euro crisis is that politics is usually incompatible with solving problems. Politics is essentially about people getting re-elected, whereas massive problems often need solutions that may be unpopular in certain quarters.

While the dogs on the street have known what the economic solutions to the eurozone crisis were for a couple of years now, the solutions were not put in place, as the crisis got worse and worse, because politics didn't allow for the radical solutions that were needed.

We saw that same dichotomy between politics and problem solving at home last week. It was at its starkest when Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore pulled the press-conference stunt on Tuesday. The two were ostensibly there to announce that Cabinet had approved the long-awaited personal insolvency legislation. Beyond that one sentence they were reluctant to answer any questions about the legislation, most importantly about whether the banks would still retain their effective veto over any settlement of mortgage debts.

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