Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Order of Business.
Ivana Bacik (Independent)
I know we will see more of that today with a Minister of State, Deputy Seán Sherlock, in the House and when we come to the health debate with the Minister for Health, Deputy James Reilly, on 27 October.
I ask for a similar question and answer session and debate on housing. I have already made contact with the Minister of State, Deputy Willie Penrose, on the issue. In particular, we should discuss the report due to go to the Cabinet this week on how best to protect people in mortgage difficulties. Anybody who saw Richard Curran's excellent programme last night on RTE will have felt very concerned about the position of many people, even those who are not directly distressed mortgagees. These people are able to make their repayments but like a couple we saw in Clonee, they could be stuck in an apartment that is far too small for a growing family. Those people did not wish to stay in the apartment. There is a significant number of people in negative equity and their position should be addressed by the Government.
The Government is taking steps to address the issue but in the Seanad we should follow up the publication of the report with a debate on its proposals, particularly if there is a proposal for a new independent group to negotiate with lenders on behalf of borrowers and redress the balance as Deputy Ciarán Lynch has argued. We must consider how best such a group can work to ensure that people in distress with their mortgages, who are struggling with repayments or who are in negative equity can have their needs addressed.