Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to provide significantly more robust guarantees for the protection of families that are likely to be affected by the Permanent TSB mortgage crisis. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Taoiseach attempted during Leaders Questions to insist that concerns were being exaggerated around the possible sale of up to 20,000 home mortgages to foreign vulture funds in the coming months:
“The Taoiseach’s answers today were utterly inadequate as a response to a tragedy that will affect thousands of deeply distressed families. In fact they bordered on being detached and heartless.
He seems to have conveniently forgotten that PTSB is 75% state owned and that the Minister for Finance is the main shareholder.
That clearly puts him and his government in a position of significant influence. Instead, the Taoiseach is reverting back to his familiar role as bystander in this unfolding crisis.
Only when pushed and with his back to the wall did he offer to keep the situation under review and to intervene if necessary.
However, we are well past the point of waiting. The Taoiseach must accept that the banks have clear form in this regard and that they will not give a damn about doing the honourable thing if it means to beefing up their balance sheets at the expense of people losing their family homes.
The government must intervene decisively and pro-actively and not simply wait for the vulture funds to arrive and after the chance to keep them away has long passed,” concluded Deputy McGrath.