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Its payback time, says Noonan

VARIABLE rate mortgage holders have suffered the most.

Unlucky enough not to have benefitted from the Celtic Tiger tracker mortgages, they went with the next option offered by the banks - the variable rate.

However, as ECB-led tracker rates declined, variable rates soared, putting hard-working people beyond the pin of their collar.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan seems to have won the initial war of attrition with the banks, and long-awaited rate cuts are on the way for those on variable rates.

Is it enough? Not really, and more work is needed, otherwise a two-tier system will continue to flourish.

Is it a pre-election stunt or an attempt to finally bring the banks into line? We'll know the electorate's verdict on that within 10 months.

The country bailed out the banks on their night of need - a policy that many regard as wrong. It is high time banks remember who their customers are and help people get back on an even and fair keel.