The Tánaiste's comments, quoted in the media yesterday, about reducing taxes for the coping classes in the years ahead were very interesting. I am sure that was for an audience not here but in Killarney over the coming weekend.
The residential mortgage arrears and repossession statistics for quarter three reveal a damning indictment of the failure of everybody trying to deal with mortgage arrears. Almost 32,000 are now 720 days or more in arrears. While the Tánaiste is talking about commitments to reduce taxes on the coping classes in the years ahead, this cohort of people is now under huge stress and pressure. It seems nothing is being done for them. Recently, the Governor of the Central Bank said he was tearing the hair out of his head because of the banks' inability to deal with this issue. However, families are tearing the hair out of their heads because no proper restructuring offers are being made to them.
In reference to the 0.5% decrease in quarter three, which is the first decrease since 2009, the report states: "However, this decrease masks divergent trends between short-term and longer-term arrears." While we acknowledge the statistics with regard to the short term, the long-term arrears represent a massive problem that needs to be addressed. To date, the Government, the Central Bank and most importantly the banks themselves are failing to address that issue. They are now including threatening letters as a solution to mortgage arrears of 720 days or more.
We have previously called for independent oversight to assess what is a sustainable solution. I would be very concerned about a potential property bubble in some parts of Dublin coming to bear again and we will see banks move very quickly on these families for repossessions and sending threatening legal letters.