That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to highlight the State's adherance to EU law and the European Convention on Human Rights in regard to the present emergency in the housing sector and, in particular, in dealing with mortgage arrears; to provide for a platform for an open market - “the national affordable cooperative housing exchange” - in which mortgagees and purchasers of home loans and security housing must deal; to secure for preferred not-for-profit housing providers a purchasers first refusal on such sales via a non-compulsory purchase order call option; to designate the Registrar of Friendly Societies as the exchange point for such sales; to promote not-for-profit third sector non-state provision of affordable housing ranging from mutually funded to internationally funded in the ethical bond market; to allow for the broadening of the Mortgage to Rent mortgage rescue model to be available without any local authority involvement to voluntary, mutual and not-for-profit housing providers funded privately and without recourse to public funds or state guarantee; and to provide for reconfiguring Abhaile as a mortgage resolution agency.
I wish to acknowledge the work done by Mr. Edmund Honohan, the Master of the High Court, and the huge contribution he made in terms of the Bill. He did this in a non-political way for reasons arising from his experience in the courts. I compliment Mr. Honohan and also Mr. Brian Reilly of Right2Homes. What is being done by Mr. David Hall in respect of a particular pilot scheme shows that this Bill can work.
The Bill would keep Ireland in line with EU law and with the European Convention on Human Rights in the context of the housing crisis and the mortgage arrears issue in particular. It would also provide for a national affordable housing exchange and a non-compulsory purchase option for preferred not-for-profit housing agencies. Furthermore, it would expand the mortgage-to-rent rescue model by removing the dead hand of local authorities and replacing it with the caring hand of voluntary, mutual and not-for-profit housing agencies. The Bill would reconfigure Abhaile as a mortgage resolution agency and would give authority to the not-for-profit housing agency designated for the purpose to raise funds on the open market from ethical funds.
Above all, this Bill, if enacted, would keep people in their homes and would bring vulture funds, which are causing havoc for families and individuals throughout the country and causing homelessness by means of evictions, to heel.