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Mortgage help group in financial data shock

A GROUP set up to help distressed mortgage-holders said the release of personal financial information on 1,000 hard-pressed homeowners to an investment firm was a "mistake".

Ross Maguire, co-founder of New Beginning, accepted people will be "shocked and disappointed".

The details were forwarded to investment firm Arizun, which New Beginning is seeking to partner.

Mr Maguire (inset) said that "an email was sent by mistake" as part of an attempt by New Beginning to resolve the problems of householders.

He said the information "had been deleted from their system".

Mr Maguire said that while there was no legal requirement for him to inform the data protection authorities about the matter, he should have done so.

"We made a mistake. I have to take the blame for that," he said.

Regarding a payment of €20,000 plus VAT transferred to New Beginning on the same day Arizun received the data, Mr Maguire said this was an acknowledgement that his organisation would "have to employ significant resources as part of our preparing this programme".

When asked to explain an email which contained the phrase: "Here's the 1,500 names as promised" he replied: "That doesn't sound good from our point of view."