Social Democrats Housing Spokesperson and T.D. for Dublin Bay North, Cian O’Callaghan welcomes the new report on home repossessions by Dr Padraic Kenna Director of the NUIG Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy and calls on the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to facilitate the implement its recommendations. The report highlights the significant impact mortgage arrears and home repossession cases have on families and the need to take a human rights-based approach to lessen this toll.

Cian O’Callaghan T.D. said:

“The COVID-19 crisis will, unfortunately, result in a new round of mortgage arrears. We must learn from the mistakes of the past and deal with these cases differently.

“Today’s report from Dr Kenna highlights the huge toll mortgage arrears cases have had on families – the added stress, the pressure on relationships and the impact on mental health. In particular, it puts a spotlight on the pressure applied to single parents and the impact on women. None of the state agencies involved are addressing this gender dimension in their reports. This should change.

“The report also highlights that only a quarter of those who face losing their home have legal representation. This is a significant access to justice issue. Legal support is particularly important where people risk losing their home, with all the stress and strain that goes with that. More must be done to provide people who are under financial pressure with free legal aid and access to state supports.

“The reports call for human rights and equality training to be undertaken by the Directors of the Central Bank and by the state-appointed directors of some of the banks involved. I think this is important. I also agreed that the Central Bank should start measuring and reporting how its decisions are impacting on housing rights and any disproportionate impact they are having on women. Under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, all public sector bodies must protect human rights.

“Of the 12,000 repossession cases before the Circuit Court in 9 months last year, two-thirds were taken by AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, KBC and Permanent TSB. The state has a significant role in ensuring that these banks deal with people in a way that is fair and just.”

19th May 2020

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