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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 17 December, 2018
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In mortgage arrears? Here's how the government plans to help

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about…

The Cabinet is due to meet at 1pm today to sign off on a range of measures to help those in mortgage arrears.

Living City Initiatives Environment Minister Alan Kelly and Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

The package will include an examinership process for homeowners and provide the courts with new powers to arbitrate on debt deals that have been vetoed by the banks.

Several papers report that British charity Stepchange will be used to act as go-between for homeowners and banks to encourage people to engage with their lenders.

Changes are also planned for the mortgage-to-rent scheme which allows people to voluntarily surrender their home to a bank, which sells it to a housing association that in turn rents it back to the householder.

Meanwhile, a new report by the government’s National Economic and Social Council (NESC), recommends tax reliefs for landlords and longer leases for tenants – of up to 20 years.

Separately, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has written to the chair of the Oireachtas finance committee, Liam Twomey, asking the committee to examine Labour TD Willie Penrose’s proposal to reduce the bankruptcy period from three years to one.

The coalition has come under increasing pressure in recent months to act on the growing mortgage crisis. As to how much the proposals will help those in arrears, time will tell.

The agenda

  • Representatives from the construction and auctioneering industries will appear before the banking inquiry throughout the day.
  • Jobs Minister Richard Bruton will answer questions at 9.30am.
  • Frances Fitzgerald will meet the justice committee to discuss the new Terrorist Offences Bill at 9.30am.
  • Taoiseach Enda Kenny will field Leaders’ Questions at noon.
  • Children’s Minsiter James Reilly will discuss early childcare in the Seanad at 12.45pm.
  • Jeremy Masding, Group CEO of Permanent TSB will appear before the finance committee at 2pm as they discuss overview of the banking sector.
  • HIQA Chief Executive, Phelim Quinn, will appear before the health committee at 2.30pm to discuss the organisation’s report into the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise.
  • During Private Members’ Business at 7.30pm, debate will continue on Sinn Féin’s motion that “notes the continuing failure of the Government to legislate on the recommendations of the report” of the Mahon Tribunal. The investigation, which was published in March 2012, looked into planning permissions and land rezoning issues in the 1990s in the Dublin County Council area.

What the others are saying

  • The Department of Justice is planning to introduce reforms to weed out “rogue” language schools, according to the Irish Independent.
  • The same paper reports that Health Minister Leo Varadkar has compared the issues being raised by the No side in the same-sex marriage debate to those brought up in the divorce referendum 20 years ago.
  • Following on from the Hiqa report into issues at Portlaoise Hospital, Enda Kenny said the HSE’s stance on patient safety is “disturbing”, according to the Irish Times.

Inside Leinster House

Mary Lou McDonald was told to remove a Yes Equality badge she wore in the Dáil. The request was made in line with a long-standing tradition that Oireachtas members, staff and visitors should not wear emblems when in Leinster House.

In case you missed it

On the Twitter machine

Fianna Fáil Senator Thomas Byrne weighed in on cuts to Accord’s funding.

Originally published: 9am

Read: Same-sex marriage debate heats up amid growing fears of No vote

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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