NT Mayor Urges Debt Forgiveness

Mayor of North Tipperary, Michéal Lowry has added his voice in support of the introduction of a scheme of mortgage relief or debt resolution.

Mayor of North Tipperary, Michéal Lowry has added his voice in support of the introduction of a scheme of mortgage relief or debt resolution.

“Leading economist Morgan Kelly recently stated that the introduction of a debt forgiveness scheme for homeowners unable to pay their mortgages would go some way toward helping the country recover from its current economic difficulties”.

Mayor Lowry stated that he has seen first hand the devastation caused to families burdened with huge mortgages that they can no longer maintain.

“In working with the Council for the past number of years I have seen a huge increase in the numbers of people being forced to forego their mortgages and surrender their homes to the banks and subsequently turning to the Council seeking help and support in rehousing their families. Despite returning their homes to the banks these people still carry the burden of huge outstanding debts as the original cost of their homes far exceed the finances realized from its sale. Whilst they are trying to re-establish themselves from the ground up they are thwarted at every turn. It is simply impossible for them to get back on their feet while trying to pay off their debts.”

“I believe that some level of debt forgiveness needs to be introduced, not on investment properties, but on domestic residences and family homes. Conflicting messages are coming from the government presently on this issue. Minister of State for housing Willie Penrose has stated that government will give this issue serious consideration. On the flip side both Minister of State for Finance Brian Hayes and representatives from the Minister of Finances office have said that any such scheme is highly unlikely.”

“Whilst I understand that such a scheme will have many complexities that would have to be overcome by the legislators I believe urgent action needs to be taken to tackle this problem. What is required is a complete review of bankruptcy and debt forgiveness laws in the jurisdiction in order to draw up a comprehensive framework to allow affected parties follow concrete steps and requirements in order to get back on their feet. The Law Reform Commission have already put forward numerous worthwhile proposals on these issues. The government should have regard to their proposals in moving forward.”

“Shackling someone with an unpayable debt, for life, does not serve any positive purpose, it merely prevents them from being an active participant in our economy. By refusing to allow any debt forgiveness we are removing thousands of people from the system which is detrimental to the economy as a whole.