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Editorial: AIB write-off move must bring relief

Struggling mortgage holders have been cheered by the news that Allied Irish Banks is considering some kind of part write-off of unmanageable loans.

Using part of the government's €13.3bn bank bailout to help ordinary citizens would go some way towards tempering the anger people feel towards these banks.

It would provide a lifeline to families who would otherwise lose their homes and a great easing of their financial burdens.

The difficulty will lie in choosing those who are to benefit and by how much.

There is also the possibility that this "debt forgiveness" will not be permanent and that house owners would be expected to repay the outstanding amount if their circumstances improve in the future.

Nonetheless, right now it offers hope and a reason to keep making repayments and pushes the threat of repossession much further away.