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Banks need to learn some home truths

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THE impending interest rates hikes coming from Permanent TSB and others, not to mention the ECB rate rise later this year, will come as the final knockout punch for thousands of families across this country.

An ECB rise alone is going to affect over 400,000 homeowners who have tracker mortgages, but this would also be added on to the variable rate making it a double hit below the belt.

Individual and family finances are already struggling from the impact of income tax changes and the introduction of the new universal social charge.

Home and motor insurance, college fees, petrol prices have all risen recently and private insurance fees with VHI and Aviva are set to rise well above the rate of inflation.

Thousands of families are also having to come to terms with the lower child benefit rates and higher costs for investing in a pension.

What can we do?

Well if our potential leaders can announce to the world and his mother that Ireland cannot possibly afford the current interest rate being charged on our bailout then surely the suffering citizens of this State, who are footing the bill for Fianna Fail's years of mismanagement, can do likewise. We cannot afford these punitive interest rates on our home loans so we are not going to pay them. Isn't that what this country is in effect saying to the IMF/ECB? What is the difference?

Derek Ross
Blessington, Co Wicklow

Hearing the news that the taxpayer-supported banks are planning to raise mortgage variable interest rates within the week by up to 1pc as an election is in full swing is opportunistic in the extreme.

Unlike so many recent obscene price hikes, this is one that our political establishment can and should stop.

The time to act is now and Brian Lenihan should stop state-supported banks from increasing rates. The ECB base rate is not set to rise for most of 2011.

Europe-wide, no local banks are raising their interest rates. Irish banks are only operational due to benevolence of the taxpayer. We are already paying for bank losses with the four-year plan, capital injections, etc.

Mr Lenihan could make a parting stand for the people of Ireland.

Barry Fitzgerald
Lissarda, Co Cork

Irish Independent