Vincent P Martin: We have a chance to slay the debt monster and free the forgotten
Debt restructuring is a vital ingredient in Ireland's economic recovery, writes Vincent P Martin
A voracious creature called the debt monster has homeowners living in fear. Not just the 120,000 people in arrears, those for whom any change in circumstances would be disastrous are also terrified of seeing their homes disappear down the debt monster's throat. This beast has an appetite so gluttonous that limitless sacrifices must be made to keep it fed. It must be appeased – or so the myth goes.
The debt monster has enslaved those 120,000 homeowners who are behind with their repayments. It has cast a fearful spell over tens of thousands of mortgage-holders just about keeping their heads above water. Many people remain paralysed by debt thanks to the dithering of the banks over the past five years – a delay which speaks for itself. Since the economic collapse in 2008, the banks have spurned opportunity after opportunity to tackle a problem of their own making – their chance has come and gone. But a fresh start is beginning for us.
The ruling classes advised, encouraged and promoted unprecedented lending. In many instances, borrowers were ordinary citizens who could not have been expected to be versed in the ways of international finance. Borrowers relied on the ruling classes, trusted them – and are paying a huge price for it.