Sinn Féin TD Pauline Tully has called on Brendan Smith, Niamh Smyth and Heather Humphreys to explain why they rejected calls to provide mortgage interest relief to homeowners in Cavan-Monaghan crippled by ever-rising interest rates.
The rejection of Sinn Féin’s proposals in the Dáil last night came just hours after the European Central Bank warned borrowers to brace themselves for a further three interest rate hikes by the end of July – on top of the six increases since last July.
Teachta Tully said:
“Last week’s forecast of a general government surplus in excess of €10 billion this year was further evidence that the government has the scope to support homeowners.
“Yet just hours after the ECB warned of three impending interest rate hikes before the end of July, Brendan Smith, Niamh Smyth and Heather Humphreys, incredibly voted to reject Sinn Féin proposals to introduce temporary and targeted mortgage interest relief for homeowners.
“Last month, the European Central Bank increased its main lending rate for the sixth time since July 2022 to 3.5 percent.
“Mortgage repayments have now risen by colossal amounts – by thousands of euros a year for many, with some now paying interest rates as high as 8%.
“Now the proposed additional three ECB rate rises will mean the typical tracker mortgage-holder will have seen annual repayments shoot up by an eye-watering €2,500 since July of last year.
“Rising mortgage rates were already putting homeowners under increased financial pressure – now thanks to the government’s refusal to intervene, families will struggle to keep their heads above water.
“TDs went into last night’s vote on this issue fresh from hearing the ECB’s warning that three further increases are to come in the next three months.
“Yet with their eyes wide open to that fact, they turned their backs on homeowners in this constituency. I am calling on them to explain why.
“Prior to this week’s debate, the Free Legal Advice Centre had warned that many homeowners were at risk of falling into arrears, while MABS warned that hikes are having disastrous effects.
“These increases are also yet another obstacle standing in the way of aspiring first-time buyers, many of whom continue to suffer with crippling rents and rising house prices due to the government’s failure to deliver affordable housing.
“Sinn Féin has repeatedly called for the introduction of temporary mortgage interest relief, which would support struggling mortgage holders by up to €1,500, yet the government has failed to listen with the situation now approaching a crisis point for so many.
“I call on the government to take their heads out of the sand and to support Sinn Féin’s sensible and necessary proposals.”
Sinn Féin’s mortgage interest relief proposals can be read here: