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Thursday 9 February 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland Finance Minister Michael Noonan speaking after the report's release today
# Mortgages
'Designed to protect the banks': Mortgage group slates debt relief report
The government’s much-touted plan for homeowners “gives no solutions”, according to David Hall of New Beginning.

GOVERNMENT PROPOSALS ON ways to alleviate Ireland’s mortgage crisis have been slated as “a banker’s solution in the bankers’ interest” by a group representing mortgage holders.

The Keane report, released earlier today, put forward a number of measures aimed at helping homeowners in arrears on mortgage payments, including splitting mortgages and rent-back agreements.

But David Hall, of homeowners’ advocacy group New Beginning, told there was “nothing in” the report, which he called “a document designed to protect the banks.” He said:

It doesn’t give any solution that will alleviate the pressure people are under.

The report found that 32,000 households had been unable to pay their mortgages in the last six months. It ruled out any blanket debt forgiveness for mortgage holders. However, it made several proposals, including local authorities taking control of some houses, and certain loans being split so that one portion could be paid off while the rest is ‘warehoused’.

Hall called this “a bankers’ solution, to solve a problem for banks in the bankers’ interest.” He said the result would be that after years paying off a mortgage, people would still owe money; and that handing properties to local authorities was impractical as the system is already “stretched to the limit.”

New Beginning will be releasing details of its own proposals to help those in arrears over the coming days, he said.

The report has also come under fire from Fianna Fáil public expenditure spokesperson Thomas Byrne, who said it went against pre-election pledges made by Fine Gael to boost mortgage relief. “The Keane Group examined the FG promise but rejected it out of hand,” he said. “It is just one of a number of broken promises.”

However, it was welcomed by coalition TDs including Labour’s Ciara Conway, who said the Keane report “is showing that Labour in government is delivering.” She added:

It’s great to finally have this report published, now we need to set about making these proposals a reality so that families can benefit as soon as possible.

Read more: Report rules out blanket debt forgiveness on mortgages>

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