Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Thursday) said Fianna Fáil should not be so quick to criticise the new Insolvency Service Ireland (ISI), when it is the Party that left borrowers drowning in debt, with absolutely no hope for the future. Deputy Doherty was speaking after the ISI launched guidelines and a public information campaign on debt resolution measures.
“When Fianna Fáil left Government, there were already roughly 45,000 people in mortgage arrears. This was due to a culture of lax regulation, property speculation and cheap debt that was so keenly fostered and encouraged by Fianna Fáil. The Party failed to regulate, failed to mitigate the impending property crash and failed to leave behind any sort of plan to deal with the spiralling mortgage arrears problem. When Fianna Fáil was kicked out of Government, it left people in arrears with absolutely no hope.
“The fact that Fianna Fáil is now trying to paint itself as the Party who would get tough on the banks is laughable. This is coming from the same Party which sanctioned huge pay packets for senior bankers and presided over a regulatory regime that allowed extremely irresponsible lending and speculation, with no controls in place or protection for ordinary homeowners.
“Today many of the fears and rumours about the Insolvency Service have been dispelled. This entire system is aimed at keeping people in their homes and giving them a long-term, sustainable solution to their debt problems. Thousands of families across the country are stuck in limbo, with a huge financial burden affecting every area of their lives. Through the ISI, families will be able to bring their debt nightmare to an end.
“Flexibility will be key to this process. The details published today are guidelines; no more and no less, and they will be kept under review. There is no requirement on anyone to give up their job or to drop their living standards to an unsustainable level. The banks are not being given all the power, as Fianna Fáil claims. The reality is that it will be in the bank’s interests to reach an agreement with debtors, as the alternative would be bankruptcy. In effect everyone has a veto; if the person in debt doesn’t like what is being proposed, they can back out.
“The ISI puts forward a number of sustainable solutions for people to manage their debt. We want every family in this country to be able to participate in the economy, and be a part of the recovery. It is essential that the ISI is up and running as soon as possible so that families can chart a way forward and start getting on with their lives without the burden of unsustainable debt.”