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Dáil Éireann - Private Members Business
Tuesday 24 January 2017

“That Dáil Éireann:

notes that:

— the wrongful removal of tracker mortgage rates from mortgage holders, or a failure to restore mortgage holders to tracker mortgage rates they were entitled to, has affected thousands of families;

— the damage caused by the action of the banks involved goes far beyond a purely financial effect and that the effects it has had on the health and social wellbeing of families along with the accompanying social exclusion, must also be considered;

— the confirmed cases number at least 11,700 and that many more are still likely to emerge with the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland stating that up to 15,000 is a reasonable estimate;

— the unique economic circumstances prevailing at the time this wrong doing was ongoing resulted in a more pronounced effect and impact on families affected throughout Ireland;

— the occurrence of this behaviour across the banking system suggests a coordinated and deliberate attempt by Irish banks to deprive thousands of families of their rights;

—the banks have admitted that dozens of families have lost their home as a result with AIB admitting to 14 cases, Ulster Bank to 15 cases, Permanent TSB to 22 and other banks not yet disclosing the number;

—there are also the homes which were surrendered and were a voluntary or agreed sale, the numbers of which are not yet captured but should also be considered a loss of home;

—in October 2015, the Central Bank of Ireland finally launched an industry wide examination into this practice, years after evidence of its existence emerged; and

—former Central Bank of Ireland Head of Financial Regulation, Matthew Elderfield, told the Committee of Public Accounts, in 2013, that he did not believe the current legislation on the Irish Statute Book is strong enough to bring people to account for white collar crime;

commends the families and advisors that have campaigned to bring this scandal to light and pledges its support to all those affected;

condemns the widespread and scandalous abuse of mortgage holders’ rights carried out by multiple banks in which tracker mortgages and the applicable rates were denied to those who were entitled to them;

supports a comprehensive redress scheme that truly works for the customers affected, with a full right to access to tracker mortgages at the rate agreed as per the contract or at the rate applicable at the time the contract was entered into and compensation taking into account the financial and social impact of the bank’s behaviour;

questions the delay in the Central Bank of Ireland’s actions in carrying out an industry wide examination and expresses concerns that no deadline is in place for the banks to conclude their investigations and to put in place a redress and compensation scheme;

calls for the Central Bank of Ireland investigation to uncover the grounds under which each lender decided or chose to carry out this level of wrong doing;

believes that a major overhaul of existing law is required to ensure that individuals can be held responsible before the law for their actions in financial matters;

calls on the Government to bring forward legislation to ensure that individuals in financial institutions can be held accountable for white collar crime; and

calls on the Central Bank of Ireland, An Garda Síochána and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement to cooperate, with a view to establishing if individuals as well as corporate entities can be held accountable for their part in this scandal.” — Pearse Doherty, Gerry Adams, John Brady, Pat Buckley, Seán Crowe, David Cullinane, Dessie Ellis, Martin J. Ferris, Kathleen Funchion, Martin Kenny, Mary Lou McDonald, Denise Mitchell, Imelda Munster, Carol Nolan, Jonathan O'Brien, Eoin Ó Broin, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Louise O'Reilly, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Maurice Quinlivan, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín.

[19 January, 2017]