Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Committee on Budgetary Oversight

Inflation: Discussion (resumed)

Mr. Gabriel Makhlouf:

I am not sure there is a precise question. I completely sympathise with the Deputy's sentiments. Certainly, the banking system in Ireland is in a much better plan than where it was a decade ago, although, to a certain extent, it is still repairing itself. We still have, for example, long-term mortgage arrears that are a problem for the system.

If the Deputy is talking about housing and the mortgage measures in particular, it is very familiar territory. Tomorrow, I will be announcing the conclusions of our latest annual review of the mortgage measures. We are in the middle of a pretty significant review of the entire framework, which will conclude next year, on the mortgage measures. As I have said in the past, as far as housing is concerned, the fundamental issue there is the supply of housing, as opposed to the availability of finance.

In terms of lending to small businesses, we have not seen any evidence to say that banks are short of money to lend. I would expect that if someone has a good business proposition, and I have no doubt the Deputy has lots of them, he or she will get a positive reaction from his or her bank manager. However, I completely understand the housing challenge, if that was the Deputy's particular focus. That is a significant issue, but its solution is not in the availability of credit but the supply of housing.