Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 16 January 2018
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach
Tracker Mortgages: Discussion
Last January, I did not have the privilege of being in this role but if I looked at January a year ago when Deputy Noonan was Minister, I know that at that point, the briefings he would have received from the Central Bank were that the investigation was ongoing and that it was dealing with the matter with the banks. In my view, it was only towards the latter part of last year, and Deputy Doherty and other members of this committee did play a role in it as did the hearings, that the difficulties regarding defining the numbers of people who are affected by this really began to sharpen.
It was at that point that I decided to get involved. In answer to the question, I do regret the length of time for which this has gone on. I have been very careful not to meet victims until the actions that I committed to last year, after the issue became so sharp, were under way. I met people and was very clear with them that I am limited in what I can do because of my relationship with the Central Bank. I had met people who were affected by this issue before I became Minister for Finance. I privately met with a number of families who have been affected by it. It has continued to reaffirm to me that not only was the development of this issue completely wrong but the way in which it was handled by the banks was disgraceful. That is why I supported the Central Bank in the way I did last year.