Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill 2013: Second Stage (Resumed)
I agree with much of Deputy Durkan's analysis of what is wrong, his criticisms of the lending institutions, his reservations about the Personal Insolvency Bill that was passed in this House and the difficulties we face in the future in respect of this problem. To say it has not yet been adequately addressed is possibly an understatement. The main problem is that the Government and the banks are approaching it from an almost identical position - they see the borrower as the problem when the real problem all along has been the banks. The borrower has partial responsibility but ultimately the main responsibility for this awful mortgage arrears crisis - the main focus of this Bill - lies with the bankers.
The Title of this Bill is somewhat soft and misleading. It is called the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill, which sounds as if a small legal problem with a bit of land can be addressed in the near future and the Bill passed in minutes. This, however, is one of the most traumatic Bills - and a fundamental attack on individuals - introduced in this House in the current session. The Title of the Bill was laid down, no doubt, for good legal reasons but in fact this Bill does two things. It does the will of the troika and the IMF and undoubtedly was dictated by those institutions. The review of the EU-IMF programme of financial support for Ireland contained the Government's commitment that by the end of March 2013 it would introduce legislation remedying the issues identified by case law in the 2009 land and conveyancing law. What matters is that the format chose to remove the unintended constraints on banks to realise the value of loan collateral under certain circumstances. That is the nub of this Bill. It fulfils a pattern or campaign that has been ongoing since 2010 and restores to the banks the position of hegemony, leadership and domination in the financial world which they held up to 2007 and 2008.