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Mortgage holders to unite in fight for reform

New Beginning is spearheading an intiative to bring together groups and individuals concerned about mortgage defaulting in Ireland – with a spokesperson saying it will bring power in numbers.

MORTGAGE HOLDERS AND groups looking after their interests are to come together to unite in a fight for reform.

The national group, which is being led by New Beginning, is to focus on forcing action on the mortage distress experienced by thousands of homeowners in Ireland.

David Hall, spokesperson for New Beginning, which is spearheading the group, explained to

It is very clear to us that there is a significant imbalance in the process involving the banks and the borrower and the only way it can be rebalanced is by borrowers coming together. We have decided to arrange a grouping of people from all over the country – organisations and individuals. Our belief is we are stronger as a group standing together rather than doing things individually.

The plan of action is to rebalance the power that is there at the moment and give borrowers some sway, he added.

They plan to lobby the financial regulator and Central Bank about issues and they will campaign for legislation to better protect borrowers.

It is clear the Germans are running the country and the banks have been very clear with that and leading ministers in relation to telling them what to do.
We believe there is a strength in numbers and that hasn’t been achieved yet.

Interested groups will meet over the next six weeks to discuss their progress and expressions of interest.

Hall said that New Beginnings had received a large amount of emails expressing interest in recent days.

He cautioned that the as-yet-unnamed group would do “nothing that is going to harm the economy – it is simply something that people will band together and will be strong and united as a group”.

Hall said that there are “lots of vulnerable people” dealing with the banks and that New Beginnings is inundated with requests, which has fuelled the need for discussions with other organisations.

He said there are high levels of frustration and that there are people who don’t even understand what the current process is but are dealing with banks.

The biggest difficulty and biggest challenge is that the right thing to advise people to do is to engage with their financial institutions. But in the back of your mind you are worried – is the person going to get a fair treatment?

“It is a very dangerous and serious state of affairs,” said Hall.

He said the fact that a number of banks had told the Minister for Finance that they would not pass on the interest rate cut was “very disconcerting and very concerning”.

He said that the group would have a “damn sight better chance” of achieving things together rather than separately, adding “the government are doing nothing”.

“We have to turn to each other and try and group and stand together. Public groupings are very powerful. Politicians will jump ship if they think their own seat is in jeopardy,” he pointed out.

He said the only real way to affect change is to bring the power to the people and have a proper coherent discussion.

The State has a responsibility to its people in the first instance and Europe second. Europe should not take precendence over Irish citizens.

According to the most recent figures from the Central Bank, 100,000 homeowners in Ireland are experiencing mortgage difficulties.

Read: Noonan: Mortgage measures will help families ‘break shackles’ of debt>

Read: More than 100,000 households now in morgage difficulties>

Read: Gilmore urges other banks to follow AIB with rate cut>

Read: Government may ‘take action’ against banks not passing on mortgage cut>

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