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Government must rein in the banks

THE scale and impact of the recent interest rate hikes by one of our main financial institutions appears to have gone totally unnoticed by our politicians. Presumably they are too busy trying to get themselves re-elected to dare take on the banks who, it appears, are using this pre-election period of government inactivity to inflict what can only be described as savage blows to already burdened mortgage holders.

The result is that the country is facing a period of high inflation fuelled in the main by mortgage rate hikes on top of increases in general and domestic insurance premiums.

And all of this without as much as an eyebrow being raised by the Government or main political parties. Surely if the Government all but owns the banks -- or at least provides guarantees for those institutions in which it doesn't have a stake -- it is incumbent on our political leaders to find the time to engage with the banks and at least set limits on the margins at which money is charged out to borrowers.

Instead, all we hear about are calls for burning bond holders as if this was going to be some form of exorcism.

If the truth be known we are only going to scald ourselves as a lot of people's savings were unwittingly used to purchase these bonds in good faith at a time when Ireland Inc was seen as a safe haven.

We cannot afford to renege on our debt. Equally, we need to take genuine control of the banking system that has led the country to the financial and economic abyss into which we are now staring. Even if that entails capping banking margins into the future.

Mick Dillon
Glasson, Athlone

Irish Independent