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Kenny defends Government's stance on dealing with mortgage arrears

Micheál Martin suggests that the government is only now dealing with the problem because of the Meath East by-election.

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has defended the Government’s response to the issue of mortgage arrears, saying his administration wants “a quick and effective solution” for every struggling household.

Kenny made his comments after Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin criticised the new personal insolvency regime for giving banks an effective veto on any debt restructuring.

Confirming that a plan of action on mortgage arrears would be announced by Michael Noonan tomorrow, Kenny said the government’s plan hoped to “bring about situations where these 100,000 people who have pressure every day and every week in respect of their mortgage problems can have those resolved satisfactorily”.

The Taoiseach said house repossessions would be “the last” of the measures that would be considered in each case, and hoped that the measures would give households “the opportunity to live their lives and plan their lives without this pressure”.

Martin had insisted that giving banks an effective veto meant the new regime would be fruitless, as banks were “not engaging with people – they’re intimidating young couples.”

“The problem is, Taoiseach, that you and the government have facilitated the banks all the way here,” he said. “Two years on, talking tough isn’t enough.”

Separately, Kenny told Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams that the HSE and Beaumont Hospital were considering plans to allow deaf children receive bilateral cochlear implants – instead of implants in only one ear – from next year.

He also told the Technical Group’s Mattie McGrath that he would raise the calls for a fresh inquiry into the murder of Fr Niall Molloy with the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter.

McGrath had pointed out that both Shatter and Pat Rabbitte, while in opposition, had led calls for an independent inquiry into the popular priest’s controversial death in 1985.

Kenny said the matter was not one “to be treated lightly”.

Read: Michael Noonan to reveal the plan to tackle mortgage arrears

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Gavan Reilly

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