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HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS CRISIS

 (SEE ALSO ON THIS BLOG; Seamus Healy Proposal for FORMAL DECLARATION OF HOUSING EMERGENCY DEFEATED IN DAIL http://wp.me/pKzXa-Rd)

Housing emergency must be declared, Right to a Home summit told

The Government must declare a housing emergency and call a referendum to insert a “right to housing” into the Constitution, trade unionists, legal experts and housing campaigners have said. Karen O’Loughlin, head of campaigning with union Siptu, said “the spiralling cost of housing was particularly impacting upon women and their children, as the gap between costs and people’s incomes grew. The right to housing is protected in the constitutions of 81 countries(not Ireland). The Government needs to declare a housing emergency and roll back the policy of the commodification of housing”

Full Article

Kitty Holland  Irish Times Thursday, July 13, 2017, 17:47

The Government must declare a housing emergency and call a referendum to insert a “right to housing” into the Constitution, trade unionists, legal experts and housing campaigners have said.

Karen O’Loughlin, head of campaigning with union Siptu, said secure housing was moving further and further out of the reach of middle- and low-income households, as well as younger people.

Spiralling cost

Speaking at the Right to a Home conference hosted by the Simon Communities, she said the spiralling cost of housing was particularly impacting upon women and their children, as the gap between costs and people’s incomes grew.

She said the right to housing was protected in the constitutions of 81 countries.

“The Government needs to declare a housing emergency and roll back the policy of the commodification of housing,” she said.

The conference, in Trinity College, Dublin on Thursday, examined how a constitutional right to housing could be achieved here.

Niamh Randall, national spokeswoman for the Simon Communities, said a “clear acknowledgment that increased private sector supply” will not provide affordable or accessible housing for thousands of households was now vital.

“Housing is not like other commodities. You can increase supply and the cost of housing can still increase…Homelessness is the most visible and extreme form of the violation of the right to housing.”

Private property

She said though the right to private property was protected in the Constitution, and this had been cited repeatedly as an obstacle to a Constitutional right to housing, she said there was also an acknowledgment that the right to property “ought to be regulated by principles of social justice and can be restricted in the interests of the common good”.

“In the current crisis it is clear that some restrictions on the right to property are justifiable, to reduce the number of people becoming homeless and also to restrict the numbers trapped in housing insecurity.”

A constitutional right to housing would not mean the right to a key to a home, said Maeve Regan, managing solicitor with the Mercy Law Centre. It would “put in place a basic floor of protection”, and compel the State to “protect the right to housing in balance with other rights” in terms of decision- and policy-making.

Market rents

Among the policies that could be challenged if there was a right to housing would be if the Housing Assistance Payment and rent supplement did not meet market rents. The absence of legal aid to tenants wanting to challenge an eviction could also be challenged.

Ms Regan said though the Citizens’ Assembly had in 2014 voted by 84 per cent in favour a constitutional right to housing, this had not been considered yet by Government. She called on Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy to refer this to the Oireachtas Housing Committee.

The right to housing was recognised in international instruments, including the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, she said, but it was not enforceable here.

© 2017 irishtimes.com

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Further Tax Relief For Vultures-Government Solution To Housing Crisis!!!!

Veradkar: In the Context of the Budget, we will need to look at the private rented sector to see if there are ways we can encourage people to continue to rent their properties or move into the private rental market if they are not doing so already” -Taoiseach Veradkar-Dail Record Wednesday July 5 (Full Dáil Statement by Taoiseach further down)

He ignored recent ICTU proposals to Urgently build v. many more social houses than planned and to spend the 3.5 Billion from AIB sale on this project

 

The FG-Lab Government had already introduced a measure that would allow Vulture Funds to pay no Capital Gains Tax if they retained properties they purchased from NAMA and the banks for five years, even if the properties had no tenants for the five years!!!!

NOW VULTURES ARE TO GET FURTHER TAX RELIEF IF THEY RENT OUT THE PROPERTIES!!!!

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Seamus Healy TD Calls for a One Day General Strike to Force the Government To Solve Housing Crisis

Shocking Cruelty by Government To Protect The Assets and Incomes of the Irish Super-Rich Continues-Top 12 Gained 6 Billion last Year -but not a penny extra tax due to Build Houses!

Homelessness is increasing because of a deliberate and cruel anti-human  policy enacted by this government earlier this year. Government decided that a landlord could evict the tenants if the sale price was 20% higher with vacant possession and could evict the tenants in all circumstances if less than 10 properties were being sold.

The number of children in emergency accomodation has increased from 2708 to 2777 in a month despite government promises

These vicious measures should be repealed immediately

Government must instruct the banks it owns, including AIB and PTSB to  stop all repossession and eviction proceedings immediately.

Head of the Dublin Housing initiative, asked in  a recent interview why homelessness was increasing despite significant numbers being moved out of hotels, replied:“More people are coming into homelessness than anticipated”!!!!

Seamus Healy TD had predicted the increase in the Dáil.

Master of the High Court, Edmund Honahan, has predicted that evictions will increase hugely in the coming years as vultures seek vacant possession.

Seamus Healy TD: Yesterday’s statement by the Taoiseach confirms that this Government will persist with its disastrous housing policy. It is now obvious that a one-day general strike will be necessary to bring this Government to its senses. 

Listen Live To Seamus’ Dail Speech  https://youtu.be/UKRKNPEeIAA

Tipperary homeowner says his ‘back is to wall’ as hundreds in Tipperary still face repossession orders -Tipperary Star reporter

6 Jul 2017

Click Below for Full Article

http://www.tipperarystar.ie/news/news/258448/tipperary-homeowner-says-his-back-is-to-wall-as-hundreds-in-tipperary-still-face-repossession-orders.html

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DAIL EXCHANGES

Former Fine Gael Minister Attacks Seamus Healy TD For Calling For A One Day General Strike To Force Government To Stop Repossessions and Evictions and to URGENTLY Build the Huge Number of Social Houses Needed

From Dáil Record

Seamus Healy TD The policy of reliance on the market has created a housing emergency. A total of 91,000 families are on local authority housing lists, a number that has doubled since 2005. There are 21,000 families on housing assistance payment, HAP. There is a homelessness crisis, including 2,700 children in homeless accommodation and many thousands more are couch-surfing and doubling up with relatives and friends. The policy of reliance on the market has failed disastrously.

Yesterday, the Taoiseach told us that approximately 2,000 social houses are at various stages of construction or planning, as if that was going to solve the crisis. The Taoiseach knows that the current Government policy guarantees increasing homelessness as shown by the Think-tank for Action on Social Change, TASC, in a recent research paper and that it is totally and pathetically inadequate.

I welcome the points made recently by Patricia King, general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, who said that the market system has failed and is entirely dysfunctional in housing. She said hundreds of thousands of our citizens are affected and large numbers of children are being damaged. She said Europe must wait, and be told to wait, for payment of debt, that local authorities must be immediately funded to build social houses and local authority land should be used for social houses only. She also said vacant houses should be brought into use with compulsory purchase powers where necessary and that the €3.5 billion raised from the sale of AIB shares should be used to build social houses and not to pay down debt.

More needs to be done. A formal national housing emergency must be declared in legislation. Evictions and repossessions generally must be stopped and the Government must instruct the banks it owns, AIB and PTSB, to stop repossessions and evictions. We must repeal the law which allows vulture funds their right to evict sitting tenants. Yesterday’s statement by the Taoiseach (carried immediately below) confirms that this Government will persist with its disastrous housing policy. It is now obvious that a one-day general strike will be necessary to bring this Government to its senses.

Fergus O’Dowd(FG) This is a very important debate and I regret that the time is very short. It is not acceptable that some speakers have only six minutes and others three. This House must change, as our policies must change.

I welcome the new Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government and his initiatives. I hope he will be able to support the views I express.

We must be practical. It is all very well having a national strike but that brings no sympathy or support to the people who want to get into—–

Deputy Seamus Healy:   It brings pressure.

Deputy Fergus O’Dowd:   I did not interrupt the Deputy. It does not support those people who need to get into the empty homes around the country.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy):   Nobody interrupted Deputy Healy. He should allow Deputy O’Dowd—–

Deputy Seamus Healy:   The Deputy addressed me.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy):   Please allow him speak.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   I am entitled to respond to him. He is talking nonsense as usual.

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VERADKAR REPLY ON GOVERNMENT HOUSING STRATEGY –WED July 5

The Rebuilding Ireland strategy is Government policy. It is being implemented. As the Deputy will know, approximately 2,000 social houses are at various stages of construction or planning. That is a significant change compared to where were last year and we know that planning starts and planning applications have increased considerable as well. We are seeing definite increased activity in terms of housing supply, but we are still obviously very much further behind where we need to be in terms of supply. The Minister, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, is reviewing the strategy in full. Part of it, as the Deputy will know, involves an increase by one third in our social housing stock. Perhaps that is not enough but it is significant that we are going to increase our social housing stock by one third. It is a reversal of the policy in the past which was to reduce the social housing stock and sell it off. We are committed in the plan to increase it considerably but other measures need to be examined as well. There is a review of the first-time buyer’s grant, of which the Deputy will be aware. Consideration is being given to a vacant homes strategy and taking action to tax homes that have been vacant for long periods of time in places of high demand, or also INCENTIVISING and encouraging people to make homes available for habitation.

In the context of the budget, we will need to look at the private rented sector to see if there are ways we can encourage people to continue to rent their properties or move into the private rental market if they are not doing so already.

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ICTU SPEAKS OUT ON HOUSING!

Interview With Patricia King, General Secretary, ICTU, on Morning Ireland

Full Interview: http://www.rte.ie/radio/utils/radioplayer/rteradioweb.html#!rii=b9%5F21197014%5F48%5F04%2D07%2D2017%5F

Written Extracts: Housing 

Presenter: what are your views on the housing issue? 

Patricia King:   “We now have a housing emergency

Market system has failed and is entirely dysfunctional in housing

Local authorities should be immediately funded to build social housing-State and Local authority Lands should be used to build social housing only

 200,000 voids identified in Census should be taken over quite quickly, using CPOs where necessary”

Presenter: “You have said that the housing crisis is the greatest policy failure in the history of the state. At the recent Social Dialogue in Dublin Castle did you get any indication from government that you were being listened to”

PK: “No Just a sense of irritation that people were continuing to bring this up

3.5 billion from AIB share sale should not be used to pay down debt but to build social housing-there are 90,000 people on housing lists”

Presenter says: Government says we have no choice (but to use it to pay down debt–PH)

PK “We do have a choice Tell Financial Europe-We do need to write down the debt but you have to wait– There are Hundreds of thousand effected –large number of children being damaged

We need to solve this housing emergency and to do it quickly”

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Number of homeless children continues to rise

Kitty Holland    Irish Times Friday, June 30, 2017, 19:22

The number of homeless children has continued to rise, latest figures show, despite the accelerated efforts of authorities to address the situation.

The latest figures from the Department of Housing show there were 2,777 children, in 1,312 families, living in emergency accommodation across the State during the week of May 22nd to 28th.

In Dublin, there were 2,266 children, in 1,099 families, in emergency accommodation. Some 647 of Dublin’s homeless families were living in commercial hotels.

These figures compare with the 2,708 children, in 1,302 families, who were living in emergency accommodation across the State at the end of April, including 2,262 children, in 1,091 families, who were homeless in Dublin.

Some 750 families were living in commercial hotels in Dublin by the end of April.

The increases come just before the July 1st deadline to move all homeless families out of commercial hotels, which had been set by the former minister for housing Simon Coveney.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy abandoned this target within days of taking office.

Unacceptable

Mr Murphy said that “the important thing . . . was that we got the work done, that we brought the resources to bear”, referring to the provision of 15 “family hubs” – which provide cooking and other facilities for the homeless – across Dublin.

However, homeless charities have described the continued increases as “unacceptable” and have called for “more aggressive”solutions.

Roughan Mac Namara, advocacy manager with Focus Ireland, said that despite hopes that homeless numbers were stabilising at the beginning of 2017, “unfortunately, now it’s clear the numbers are only going up.

“Minister Murphy needs to indicate some big ideas on preventing families becoming homeless, such as stopping the eviction of tenants of buy-to-lets when their homes are repossessed.”

June Tinsley, head of advocacy with Barnardos, said: “Being homeless has a profound effect on children’s health, well-being, development and life potential. A more aggressive approach is required to tackle the ever-deepening housing crisis.

“These figures also do not reflect the number of ‘hidden homeless’ families who do not appear on the official register.

“Thousands of families in Ireland are living in overcrowded, substandard or unsafe accommodation because they have no other options.”

Niamh Randall, spokeswoman for the Simon Communities, said the numbers were “unacceptable”.

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LABOUR-FINE GAEL FED THE VULTURES AT THE EXPENSE OF THE HOMELESS

Purchasers of Irish Residential Property (including Vultures) will pay NO CAPITAL GAINS TAX if they retain the property for 5 years -Finance Bill Debate in Dail Nov 23 2016

This applies EVEN IF IT IS EMPTY FOR THE 5 YEARS

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Grossly Inadequate Prime Time Program on Housing

Most Common Form of Deception By Media is Omission 04/05/2017

View Full Program here https://www.rte.ie/news/player/prime-time-web/2017/0504/

No  Mention of Fundamental Problems-Government Committment to Protecting Private Property of Landlords including Vultures, Inability of Government to Borrow or to Spend  Proceeds of Asset Sales to Build Public Housing due to support for EU Fiscal Treaty, Refusal of Government to Tax the Massive Asset Gains of The Irish Super-Rich

Nobody Mentioned The Need for the Formal Declaration of A National Housing Emergency TO STOP EVICTIONS and COMPULSORILY PURCHASE VACANT HOUSES

Seamus Healy TD has repeatedly highlighted these matters in the Dáil

I have sent full facts with references on these matters to RTE several times-Paddy Healy

View Full Program Here:https://www.rte.ie/news/player/prime-time-web/2017/0504/

Official figures show that the number of homeless people in the State has risen from 7,184 in December 2016  to 7,421 in February 2017, a rise of 237-as Government refuses to formally declare a national housing emergency,   the Association of Personal Insolvency Practitioners says banks and vulture funds are pushing forward with a repossession spree and Taoiseach admits that proceeds of sales of state assets cannot be used to provide Social Housing because of EU FISCAL TREATY

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Juno McEnroe   Irish Examiner  March 27

HOUSING-IT IS A NATIONAL SHAME

SKY-HIGH rents, unaffordable house prices, unprecedented numbers of homeless families and an all-time low record of social housing builds.

These are some of the characteristics that mark so-called solutions to help solve Ireland’s housing crisis that has left ordinary families in a state of stasis, in poverty, and in many cases, without a roof over their heads.

Families without homes are being treated like second class citizens, according to frontline agencies.

There are exceptional amounts of money going into government promises to solve the housing crisis but little sign of relief for those renting, buying or relying on state support for a home to live in. It is a national shame.- Juno McEnroe   Irish Examiner  March 27

Full Article  http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/families-need-government-to-build-a-workable-solution-to-housing-crisis-446216.html

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Irish Times: Significant increase in the number of homeless children

New figures show progress made in tackling the homelessness crisis has been reversed

Kitty Holland, Irish Times

Last Updated: Friday, March 24, 2017, 19:18

The number of homeless children in the State increased last month to 2,546, wiping out the apparent progress made in January in tackling the crisis.

Last month, figures showed that the number of homeless people in the State had fallen from 7,184 in December 2016 to 7,167 in January.

However, official figures released on Friday showed a significant increase in homelessness in February, to 7,421 people.

Responding to the new figures, Minister for Housing Simon Coveney said they were “disappointing but not unexpected”.

Child homelessness figures are significant in driving the changes in the overall figures each month.

The number of homeless children fell from 2,505 in December to 2,407 in January.

However, February’s figure for child homelessness shows the number now stands at 2,546.

In Dublin, some 2,129 children in 1,055 families were homeless during the week of February 20th-26th.

This represents an increase of 83 in the number of homeless children in the capital since January (2,046 children in 1,007 families).

This is despite the fact the number of homeless children in the city fell by 50 between December and January.

Mr Coveney had previously pledged that by July no homeless child in Dublin would have to live in a hotel or a B&B.

Regional increases

There were also significant increases in the child homelessness figures for other regions.

The number of homeless children in the midwest decreased by 34 between December and January to 52. However, the figure increased to 85 last month.

In the southwest, the number of homeless children increased from 91 in December to 106 in January, before rising to 125 last month.

The figures were a “stark reminder of the difficulties we face in dealing with the homelessness problem”, said Mr Coveney.

“We must continue to work hard and redouble our efforts.

“Last year, 3,052 households exited homelessness, which is the highest level ever, and the level of ambition [in this regard] is greater again this year.

“This is a substantial increase on the 2,300 exits achieved in 2015 and reflects the significant ongoing work being done by housing authorities and their partner NGOs in helping households and individuals transition from homelessness to more permanent homes.”

‘Deeply disappointed’

Fergus Finlay, chief executive of the children’s charity Barnardos, said he was “deeply disappointed” by Friday’s figures.

He said they proved that the Government’s efforts to tackle the homelessness crisis were “inadequate”.

“Despite the Government commitments . . . and despite increased funding for housing and homelessness for 2017, the impact is not being felt by those most in need.

“The slowness of our systems to respond, escalating rents and the continued lack of supply across all housing sectors have all combined to hamper the Government’s efforts. Simply put, these efforts are now inadequate.”

Mike Allen, director of advocacy with Focus Ireland, said increasing housing supply was not enough to tackle the homelessness crisis and more needed to be done to keep families in their homes.

He called for measures to help keep tenants in buy-to-let homes when the landlord is selling the property.

The Simon Communities also called for a review of housing support caps.

AS JANUARY HOMELESS FIGURES REACH HIGHEST IN THE HISTORY OF THE STATE-

GOVERNMENT DELIBERATELY ALLOWS BANKS TO CONTINUE EVICTIONS

“Traitorous behaviour” shown by banks putting people out of homes-Personal Insolvency Practitioners-Irish Examiner

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Conall Ó Fátharta

Banks are committing to spending up to €1bn in “putting people out of family homes”, it has been claimed.

The Association of Personal Insolvency Practitioners says banks are refusing viable restructuring proposals designed to keep people in their homes

The Association of Personal Insolvency Practitioners said banks and vulture funds have given the “two fingers” to the Government while pushing forward with a repossession spree.

Its chairman, Eugene McDarby, said despite the Government’s efforts to address the mortgage arrears crisis by introducing the Abhaile scheme, banks are still refusing viable restructuring proposals designed to keep people in their homes.

The Abhaile scheme, launched last October, offers free financial and legal advice, with a priority on those most at risk of losing their home.

It is run jointly by the Money Advice and Budgeting Service and the Legal Aid Board.

“We feel it’s time to identify and challenge the banks and vulture funds who have chosen to give Government the two fingers while pushing forward with their repossession spree which will wreak havoc on the lives of Irish citizens and taxpayers for generations,” said Mr McDarby.

“Instead of respecting government policy and working with debtors and PIPs [personal insolvency practitioners] to achieve viable long-term sustainable solutions, the pillar banks and vulture funds continue to vote against insolvency arrangements preferring repossession and surrender of family homes.

“Insolvency arrangements provide better outcomes for banks than would be the case if a borrower goes bankrupt or the property is repossessed.”

Mr McDarby claimed the bailed-out banks and vulture funds are more interested in quick fixes and overlook the fact that, in most cases, the loss of the family home results in homelessness and a “social crisis on an unprecedented scale”.

“Banks continue to pump money into repossessing homes despite the best efforts of distressed borrowers, PIPs, and Government to identify and implement viable solutions that will keep people in their family homes,” he said.

“Currently, there are more than 35,000 family home mortgages in long-term arrears with an average of three people living in each of these properties. These 105,000 people are not being provided with sustainable alternative arrangements.”

Mr McDarby said Croke Park would not be big enough to hold the number of people in danger of losing their homes if “banks and vulture funds are not brought to heel”.

He claimed “the traitorous behaviour of banks in refusing to entertain viable alternative payment plans means the [Abhaile] scheme cannot have the desired effect of keeping people in their family homes”.

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TÁNAISTE AND MINISTER JUSTICE STATES IN DÁIL THAT COUNTY REGISTRAR HAS NO POWER TO ORDER REPOSSESSION WHEN IT IS OPPOSED BY DEFENDANT

The Tánaiste: County registrars are officers of the court and independent in the exercise of their functions and duties under statute and the rules of court. It is important to point out the following. As a matter of law, they may only make an order for the possession of any land in cases where no defence to an action for possession has been delivered by the defendant or no appearance has been entered by the defendant.

Dail Proceedings Thursday      19/01/2017

Deputy Róisín Shortall: The implications of the failure of the courts to adhere to the requirements of EU consumer protection law are potentially extremely serious. It appears that repossession orders are being granted without the courts taking the initiative to assess whether mortgage contracts are unfair. This is clearly a denial of people’s rights by the courts. Are repossessions happening without people being afforded their rights and does this expose the State to legal challenge due to its failure to adhere to the requirements of EU law?

The Tánaiste: County registrars are officers of the court and independent in the exercise of their functions and duties under statute and the rules of court. It is important to point out the following. As a matter of law, they may only make an order for the possession of any land in cases where no defence to an action for possession has been delivered by the defendant or no appearance has been entered by the defendant.

Deputy Róisín Shortall: The Tánaiste is repeating the inaccuracy.

The Tánaiste:  Let me finish. Therefore, the power of a county registrar to make orders for possession is extremely limited.

Deputy Róisín Shortall: The Tánaiste is wrong.

The Tánaiste: Where any defence is raised by a defendant, including any defence in relation to the nature or terms of the mortgage contract between the borrower and lender, the matter must, when it is in order for hearing, be transferred by the county registrar to the judge’s list at the first opportunity. The courts are independent, which is an important point to make. Following the transfer, it will be a matter for the judge to consider any issues raised, including, if applicable, issues in relation to the EU directive on unfair terms in consumer contracts, which was given effect in Ireland by way of regulations in 1995. The directive and regulations are matters for the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and it is understood that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has supervisory powers to ensure compliance with them.

Deputy Róisín Shortall:The Tánaiste is compounding the error now.

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Cashel, Co Tipp, Woman to Loose Home Despite Making All Efforts to Service Mortgage

“Personal or family hardship was also not a factor identified in the Acts.”-Judge

JUDGE ADMITS DECISION “HARSH”-BlAMES BAD LAW

Under the acts, the court cannot override the result of a meeting of creditors when the distressed debt secured against the family home was not distressed in one of the ways identified by the Oireachtas, she(Judge) said.

The intention to protect a family home did not enable the court override the vote of a creditor holding security over that property just because the property was a family home. Personal or family hardship was also not a factor identified in the Acts.

Michael Lowry (Indepenent, Tipperary) voted with Government to defeat the Anti-Eviction Bill in Dáil last Thursday in TIED(51 to 51) vote. Jackie Cahill (FF, Tipperary) Abstained


51 to 51 Vote on ANTI-EVICTION BILL in DAIL as LOWRY SAVES GOVERNMENT

Michael Lowry, not a government deputy, cast the vote that saved the government. In addition to the FF deputies who formally abstained, a further 20 deputies were missing for the vote, including John Halligan.

Noel Grealish an Michael Healy-Rae also did not vote

FINIAN McGrath, Sean Canney, Boxer Moran, Shane Ross an Katherine Zappone voted with government to defeat the ANTI-EVICTION BILL

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FARMERS TO BE EVICTED

Cromwell Returns With A licence From Grovelling Irish Government

Hundreds of farms face repossession this year as so-called vulture funds swoop on indebted properties, agri-finance experts have warned.Industry sources say that as many as 200 farmers may be affected by the sale of a €2.5bn Ulster Bank loan portfolio to US vulture fund Cerberus last October. Hundreds more could also come under pressure if the anticipated sale of other Irish mortgage portfolios to global funds goes ahead.

NEVIN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE FUNDED BY TRADE UNIONS NORTH AND SOUTH HAS PUBLISHED AN IMPORTANT DOCUMENT ON THE HOUSING CRISIS-full text below

But what  is missing from the document? Is the solution just a matter of changing national policy and running new laws through the Dáil? What are the obstacles to building huge numbers of social houses and to stopping evictions. We must not dodge the over-arching issues!!!

I wish to conduct a continuing open discussion in order to answer these questions

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Housing: no surprises-NERI

Posted on January 12, 2017 by Tom Healy, Director NERI

It is now generally accepted that the Republic of Ireland has a ‘housing crisis’. Though the causes are many and interlinked it would be astonishing to deny the obvious: not enough houses have been built in recent times at the right price in the right places for the right people. Result: escalating homelessness, escalating non-affordability and escalating rents. The housing crisis is probably a good but tragic textbook case study of what economists call ‘market failure’.  In other words, markets do not deliver enough houses to meet demand not because prices are too low but because a dominant developer-led, land-speculative and profit dominated sector has different priorities to what society might regard as optimal. In a different sense of the term, there has also been a ‘government failure’. The latter is to do with conscious decisions over three decades to outsource activity more and more to the private sector, to fail to get to grips with the price of development land and to under-invest by huge amounts in necessary ‘social housing’. Take a look at Chart 1 by clicking here   http://bit.ly/2iKXImy

If charts and picture could tell a story this one does. It speaks for itself.  Just when the market pulled back from building too many houses (related to unwise tax policies coupled with bad banking and light-touch regulation and low interest rates in the Eurozone) what did the State do? It reinforced the slump and laid the basis for a storm in terms of a housing crisis. Put another way, this housing crisis was entirely man-made due to a combination of market failure and ideological capture of the political space.  The current government is long on promises and short on delivery.

Preliminary estimates for 2016 indicate an output of approximately 14,800. This contrasts with 14,602 in 2010 – two years into a severe recession. Even as recently as 2009 when GDP was contracting significantly output was 26,402. The peak output figure was 93,419 in 2006.  Within the overall total the component of local authority social housing sharply contracted to such an extent that a total of 75 were built in the year 2015. This corresponds to a little over 1 new house per week for the entire jurisdiction. In the first half of 2016 a total 117 new social housing units were built by local authorities. This compares with a total of 20 in the same period in 2015. (Data are not yet available for social housing output in the latter half of 2016). Taking all social housing into account including new builds by voluntary and cooperative entities the total of social housing increased from 177 in the first half of 2015 to 237 in the first half of 2016. Clearly, the scale of activity up until very recent times was wholly inadequate to the need and accumulative demand following the bust of 2009 and onwards.

The solution to the housing crisis will require a number of vital policy actions carefully planned and put in place. It appears that, at last, the Government is getting the message and undertaking some of the necessary steps. Yet, it is striking that the approach is characterised by three fatal flaws:

  • An ideological clinging to the market as the key driver and supplier of housing need with the State playing an entirely secondary role by way of regulatory provision, tax incentives and modest outlays of grant assistance.
  • The scale of ambition let alone delivery is wholly inadequate to the extent of need.
  • A reluctance to deal with the problem with the urgency and cross Government drive to get to the grips with this problem. Lost somewhere in ‘fiscal space’ is the bean-counting that confuses short-term cost with long-term investment that will save the state, the market and society much by way of hidden costs and social damage.

In the coming months, the NERI will be devoting some effort to analysing the issues and proposing possible ways forward involving agency, funding and planning.  However, in the meantime, the housing crisis will not go away. It may very well get worse before it gets better. In this regard one is mindful of one of the key messages of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) landmark report on Housing Supply and Land: Driving public action for the common good (July, 2015):

The public system should use its authority, capacities and resources to take the lead on the resumption of housing supply.

Indeed.

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Deprivation of shelter, carried on for months and years, is not mischance, it is policy.

Gene Kerrigan    Sunday Independent

“Oh, we can’t have rent control, we mustn’t interfere with the market. And there are constitutional barriers to this or that. Municipal housing, as a social policy, rather than a charity, is unacceptable. When anyone mentions Nama they stick their fingers in their ears and scream.

When Home Sweet Home occupied Apollo House it wasn’t charity that the artists and activists, small businesses and thousands of volunteers brought: it was solidarity. It said this is simply not acceptable.

No ideology, no reverence for property rights, justify this as a policy – and it is clearly a policy. Deprivation of shelter, carried on for months and years, is not mischance, it is policy.

William Whittle, a former FG local government candidate, did not insult them with false good-fellowship.

He said of Apollo House: “Cut all services off, freeze them out of it.”

William Whittle is an honest man. He said what he thought. He didn’t hide behind the old oh-our-hands-are-tied bulls**t.

The thousands of homeless are collateral damage, debris cast aside in building the monument to gambling that FG/FF have created.

EVICTIONS-FROM YESTERDAY GOVERNMENT GIVES GIVES NEW HELP TO BANKS AND VULTURES TO EVICT FAMILIES QUICKLY

UNTIL YESTERDAY PROPERTY DEBTS of OVER 75,000 Euro had to be Taken to the High Court-involving a two year delay

BUT NOW DEBTS OF UP TO 3 million Euro can be dealt with in the Circuit Court.

Seamus Healy TD sought to prevent this by tabling an amendment to the Courts Bill but this was voted down by FG, INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE, Labour with FF abstaining

Amendment 29(c) to Courts Bill: “in view of the housing emergency declared here, the power of any Minister of Government to raise the market value threshold of €75,000 for single or multiple dwellings for consideration of possession of dwellings cases by the Circuit Court by activating or commencing sections of existing Acts without approval by a vote of Dáil Éireann, is cancelled.”-Seamus Healy TD

The Dáil divided:For the Amendment Tá, 34; Staon(Formal Abstention), 24; Níl, 59. Missing from Vote 40
(Nil) Against The Amendment : LABOUR PARTY, INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE (Including Finian McGrath), Green Party, Rural Independent Michael Fitmaurice, Indepenent Michael Lowry, Fine Gael Party
Tá(For The Amendment)) : Independent Seamus Healy,Rural Independent Michael Collins, Sinn Féin,AAA, PBP,Independents 4 Change, Social Democrats,
Formal Abstention, Fianna Fail Party
Missing : Rural Independent Mattie McGrath,Independent Dr Harty, D Healy Rae, M Healy Rae, John Halligan (Independent alliance),Some FF and FG Deputies also missing

From The Hub-Galway  13/01/2017

New market value threshold of €3m takes effect in Circuit Court property cases

A market value threshold of €3 million for Circuit Court jurisdiction in property-related cases took effect from yesterday.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald (pictured) signed commencement orders to bring into operation section 2 of the Courts Act 2016 and a number of sections of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004.

The jurisdiction of the Circuit Court in proceedings under the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 will now be on the basis of a market value of €3 million rather than the property’s rateable valuation.

Where the market value of the property exceeds €3 million, then the High Court will have jurisdiction (unless the parties agree otherwise).

———————-

Apollo House-Judge Refuses Extension

He said the issue before the court involves the right to ownership of private property.

“If this had been allowed to drag on it could be interpreted that the attitude of the courts was to facilitate people to occupy other properties and that the court would take a benevolent view, that would lead to an intolerable situation in a democratic state so I am not going to get involved in an argument as to whether or not Dublin City Council have provided suitable accommodation.”

If the Amendment to the Residential Tenancies Bill proposed by Seamus Healy TD had been passed the common good would have prevailed over the right to private property.

But it was voted down by the Government supported by the Labour Party as Fianna Fail abstained

Deputy Seamus Healy: I move amendment No. 53:

In page 38, between lines 2 and 3, to insert the following:

“29. Dáil Éireann formally declares that a housing emergency exists in the State and while this emergency continues the right of any person to remain in the dwelling in which the person currently resides will take precedence over any property right of any other person—

(a) accordingly no court or other authority shall order the removal of the current occupant of a dwelling, or by its decisions enable such removal notwithstanding the provisions of any Act currently in force including the provisions of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013,

(b) the housing emergency declared in this section can only be terminated by a vote of Dáil Éireann, and the Government, including any Minister of the Government, are precluded from annulling the housing emergency without approval in such a vote,

(c) in view of the housing emergency declared here, the power of any Minister of Government to raise the market value threshold of €75,000 for single or multiple dwellings for consideration of possession of dwellings cases by the Circuit Court by activating or commencing sections of existing Acts without approval by a vote of Dáil Éireann, is cancelled.”.

The full Dáil speech of Seamus Healy is carried below

————

Failed Dependence on the Market To Provide Social Housing Cannot Be Reversed Without Breaching The EU FISCAL TREATY on borrowing or Taxing the HUGE ASSETS AND INCOMES OF THE Irish Super-Rich

From the 1980s,As Byrne and Norris(Geary Institute UCD-link below) explain, “the delivery of social housing through market mechanisms and the state subsidization of the private rental sector” largely substituted for the state’s own provision of social housing, with the additional disadvantage of its adding “further fuel to the property market furnace”.

But, more fundamentally, it is important to reassert housing as a human right and a public good, built where necessary by the state and allocated on the basis of social need.Dr Andy Storey (UCD)-Dublin Inquirer  Jan 10, 2017

Andy Storey: It Worked When Local Authorities Could Borrow to Build Housing

Andy StoreyJanuary 10, 2017

 

In April of last year, it was announced that more than 11,000 tenants of Dublin City Council were to be allowed to buy their homes at a price discount of up to 60 percent of the market value.

Good luck to the tenant purchasers themselves, but the housing organisation Clúid criticized the move as tantamount to “selling off the family silver at a knock-down price”.

My UCD colleague Mick Byrne makes the point that, given the long history of such schemes, “A large part of investment in social housing in this country is thus actually an investment in subsidised home ownership.”

http://www.ucd.ie/geary/static/publications/workingpapers/gearywp201615.pdf

In 2015, the then Minister for Housing, Alan Kelly, claimed that such tenant purchase schemes were useful because not only did tenants benefit, but local councils gained resources that could be used for new social housing, though there is no guarantee local authorities will use the funds for housing.

Clúid has pointed out that even if all the money raised did go to new social housing, because of the discounts on offer, councils may not recoup enough money to replace the public housing being sold off.

As an important new paper by Byrne and another UCD colleague, Michelle Norris, makes clear, this particular issue forms part of a wider and deeper pattern of change in how social housing is (or is not) supplied by the Irish state.

The crux of that change is the switch from public provision of public housing – commonplace for most of twentieth-century Ireland – to a deeply problematic reliance on market provision.

From the 1930s to the 1950s, 52 to 65 percent of all Irish housing output was accounted for by local authorities, and by not-for-profit housing associations, usually borrowing the money to build the homes and then using the rents to repay the debts. By 1961, over 18 percent of Irish households lived as tenants in social housing.

As well as providing people with houses, this activity also constituted state-led stimulation of the economy, with many of the tradespeople directly employed by the public sector. In particular, social housing acted as a compensating factor (what economists call a counter-cyclical force) during times of economic downturn, such as during the emigration-blighted 1950s, when investment in the construction of public housing rose sharply.

A crucial turning point came in 1987, when it was decided that the funding of social housing would only come from grants from central government, meaning that local authorities could no longer borrow on their own initiative. This meant that when overall government spending came under pressure, spending on social housing would likely suffer also.

Government funding for the provision of new social housing duly fell by 88 percent between 2008 and 2014, and the output of dwellings by 91 percent. With private-sector house building nosediving at the same time, the policy had now become disastrously pro-cyclical rather than counter-cyclical.

The overly close correlation between public- and private-sector provision had been compounded by other factors. One was the introduction of rent supplement, allowing, in theory, low-income households greater access to the private rental market, though the later abolition of rent controls worked against that.

Meanwhile, existing social housing was almost continuously being sold off to tenants, long predating Alan Kelly’s initiatives, as Conor McCabe has documented.

But the most important change from the late 1980s onwards was that, rather than build houses themselves from scratch, the state was increasingly asking private developers to include social housing in their plans.

Or it was asking some of those same developers to rebuild social housing in parts of Dublin as one element in public-private partnerships that, dodgy as they were to begin with, would bite the dust when the crash came.

As Byrne and Norris explain, “the delivery of social housing through market mechanisms and the state subsidization of the private rental sector” largely substituted for the state’s own provision of social housing, with the additional disadvantage of its adding “further fuel to the property market furnace”.

As the available supply of private rented accommodation is now limited, and as rents have soared in Dublin in particular in recent years, the stage has been set for the current crisis of unaffordable housing and homelessness.

Immediate measures to solve this crisis should include bringing into use currently vacant properties – as with the Home Sweet Home initiative vis-à-vis Nama’s Apollo House. A punitive and timely tax on unused private properties would be an important policy instrument here also.

But, more fundamentally, it is important to reassert housing as a human right and a public good, built where necessary by the state and allocated on the basis of social need.

If you want to get involved in campaigns along those lines, then check out the group Housing Action Now. And happy new year to you all!

——————

NO PROSECUTION OF BANKERS THOUGH 15,000 People Defrauded in Tracker Scandal Leading to 100 Families Losing their Homes

Why Have The Garda Fraud Squad Not Been Called In To Investigate?

Fintan O’Toole, Irish Times 03/01/2017: “We know that at least 15,000 people were deceived by bankers, and that they suffered considerable loss as a result. About 100 families lost their homes.

Over the lifetime of these mortgages the amount involved in this attempted bank heist was at least €500 million.

Yet in the six years since the Central Bank discovered this systematic deception we have no evidence of the Central Bank calling in the Garda to investigate what seems, on the face of it, to be multiple and organised crimes.

Legal consequences

Who devised this system-wide scheme? Lane (Governor of Central Bank and Professor at Trinity College) thinks it a coincidence that all the banks did the same thing.

“I am pretty sure they know that the legal consequences of cartel-like behaviour would be devastating for them. I see no evidence of that kind of cartel-like behaviour.”

How does he know that when there has been no criminal investigation?

Who issued the instructions? Who ordered staff to keep schtum when customers were crying on the phone? And will any of these people be prosecuted?

Lane told the committee that it must wait and see what enforcement action will be taken against individuals in the banks.

But we’ve waited at least six years and seen nothing.

And there are words we have not read or heard: law, crime, police. Until we do it is hard to believe that the culture that led to the crash has not survived its consequences.”

———————————–

“Something the Government could do is change the procedures in the courts to put a brake on the number of families they are pumping into homelessness.”–Edmund Honahan, Master of the High Court

Master of the High Court condemns house repossessions

Edmund Honohan criticised the Government for failing to properly protect people facing repossession and said it was instead allowing the courts to “pump people into homelessness”

Kitty Holland, Irish Times Monday, January 2, 2017, 01:00

Thousands of orders granted in the Circuit Court to repossess homes may be open to challenge because these courts are not applying EU law, the Master of the High Court has said.

Edmund Honohan criticised the Government for failing to properly protect people facing repossession and said it was instead allowing the courts to “pump people into homelessness”.

“There is a lack of joined up thinking and a huge amount of ignorance,” he told The Irish Times.

Circuit courts “up and down the country” were failing in their role as “agents” of the EU as current procedures did not ensure application of EU consumer legislation, he said, adding that this was the “fault of the Irish State”.

He said county registrars – who grant the majority of repossession orders in the circuit courts – “should not be dealing with these cases at all”, as they had neither the legal training nor the legal discretion to apply EU law.

“The rules and procedures of the Circuit Court need to be updated to allow for a hearing with regard EU legislation on unfair contract terms . . . in every possession case . . .EU law is not an optional extra.”

In particular the 1993 EU directive on unfair contract terms in consumer contracts was not being properly applied. This failure, according to the European Court of Justice, breached consumers’ rights.

Legal discretion

In its 2013 ruling on the Aziz case – which had been referred to it by the Spanish courts – the ECJ, said: “…the national court is required to assess of its own motion whether a contractual term falling within the scope of the directive is unfair, compensating in its own way for the imbalance which exists between the consumer or the seller or supplier.”

The Circuit Court should be taking the initiative to assess whether mortgage contracts were fair before making possession orders, he said, noting that only a judge had the legal discretion to do this.

“So we have a county registrar sitting in wherever… and she is now an agent of the EU. She is obliged, of her own motion i.e. without the defendant present, to look at the mortgage contract and see if it’s fair. Does she have the skills to do that? No. Is there any case law to help her? No. Does she have any idea what she is doing? No. So what is happening is she sees there is no defendant in court and makes the order.”

The legality of a possession order was “often touch and go..It is not as clear-cut as county registrars think they are”.

“Something the Government could do is change the procedures in the courts to put a brake on the number of families they are pumping into homelessness.”

————-

Queues for food parcels ‘absolutely disgraceful’

Capuchin Brother Kevin Crowley urged the Government to do something to help those who are struggling and to get the homeless off the streets for good rather than just for Christmas.

Irish Times  Friday, December 23, 2016, 10:13

A man who helped to distribute more than 3,000 Christmas food parcels to people in Dublin on Thursday has warned that the city’s poorest are going to get poorer.

Capuchin Brother Kevin Crowley urged the Government to do something to help those who are struggling and to get the homeless off the streets for good rather than just for Christmas.

He was speaking after thousands of people queued for hours at the Capuchin Centre on Bow Street to collect Christmas food parcels. The food parcels contain basic necessities along with some extras such as sweets for Christmas.

“It is absolutely disgraceful that in 2016 we are still having people queuing for food, that was to be expected in 1916,” Brother Crowley told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“It is appalling to see families come here for a food parcel and then go back to a hotel.”

He said a child had asked him if Santa would know where he was for Christmas because he and his family were living in a hotel.

Brother Crowley added that the annual running costs for the Capuchin Centre which provides food parcels ever Wednesday were €3.3million with €450,000 of this coming from the Government.

He said he admired what activists from the Home Sweet Home group, who took charge of the vacant Apollo House office building in Dublin 2 with a view to offering accommodation to the homeless, were doing.

The High Court ruled on Wednesday that the building could continue operating as a homeless shelter until noon on January 11th, as long as there was no more than 40 people staying there each night and the receivers, Mazars, could access the building.

“It is getting worse because people are living in poorer conditions and are finding it more and more difficult to make ends meet…The situation is going to get worse. The poorest will get poorer,” Brother Kevin added.

Each person who queued for a parcel on Thursday had a ticket entitling them to two blue plastic bags of food – one of non-perishables including tea, sugar, cereals, tinned fish, tinned beans, custard, chocolates and biscuits, and one of such perishables as milk, cheese, a chicken and butter.

GOVERNMENT DEFEATS Amendment Calling For Formal Declaration of a Housing Emergency

Deputy Seamus Healy: I move amendment No. 53:

In page 38, between lines 2 and 3, to insert the following:

“29. Dáil Éireann formally declares that a housing emergency exists in the State and while this emergency continues the right of any person to remain in the dwelling in which the person currently resides will take precedence over any property right of any other person—

(a) accordingly no court or other authority shall order the removal of the current occupant of a dwelling, or by its decisions enable such removal notwithstanding the provisions of any Act currently in force including the provisions of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013,

(b) the housing emergency declared in this section can only be terminated by a vote of Dáil Éireann, and the Government, including any Minister of the Government, are precluded from annulling the housing emergency without approval in such a vote,

(c) in view of the housing emergency declared here, the power of any Minister of Government to raise the market value threshold of €75,000 for single or multiple dwellings for consideration of possession of dwellings cases by the Circuit Court by activating or commencing sections of existing Acts without approval by a vote of Dáil Éireann, is cancelled.”.

I will speak particularly to amendments Nos. 53 and 80. The former concerns the declaration of a housing emergency; the latter is the Focus Ireland amendment regarding buy-to-let properties and the eviction of tenants on the sale of such properties.

The Government proposals in the Bill will mean that tenants in buy-to-let properties being sold by landlords will have to leave the property if the landlord can get at least 20% more in the sale price with vacant possession than with continuing tenants. At a time of a huge lack of housing, it is lawful under the Bill to evict a tenant in order that the landlord can secure 20% extra on a sale, which is outrageous. It is cruel and anti-human. Focus Ireland tells us that a third of homeless people have had to leave buy-to-let properties on the sale of those properties. Children in these cases must go to a hotel, temporary accommodation, hostel accommodation or other unsuitable accommodation in order that a landlord can make more money from a sale. This situation is dealt with in other jurisdictions to the effect that on the sale of a property by a landlord, the tenancy continues. We simply must ensure that such a measure is adopted here and that tenants are treated reasonably, fairly and respectfully and that they are not thrown out on the road when buy-to-let landlords sell properties. There are already 2,500 children and 6,800 adults who are homeless. We are adding to these figures and we simply must stop that.

This is all in the context of the Government itself evicting householders and families through the banks it owns, namely, AIB, PTSB and EBS. In response to a question asked at a recent Oireachtas finance committee meeting, a representative of AIB said 2,879 court hearings relating to owner-occupied mortgage debt were in progress at the end of June of this year and 767 orders for possession had been granted. This has been widely reported in the press and was dealt with at the committee. We own Allied Irish Banks. The Minister can instruct the bank not to continue with repossessions. Such repossessions are adding to our housing crisis and emergency.

This year is the 100th anniversary of 1916. The first Dáil in 1919 proclaimed:

We declare in the words of the Irish Republican Proclamation the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies to be indefeasible, and in the language of our first President. Pádraíg Mac Phiarais, we declare that the Nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the Nation, but to all its material possessions, the Nation’s soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the Nation, and with him we reaffirm that all right to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare.

The 1916 Proclamation reads, “We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.”

We have an absolute housing emergency. The Minister has acknowledged this on numerous occasions. However, he and his Government refuse to have such an emergency declared in Dáil Éireann. They are prepared to declare a financial emergency and have done so and extended that emergency in June to ensure cuts to the pay and pensions of public service workers but they refuse to declare an emergency to ensure that families have roofs over their heads, that evictions are stopped and that we have rent certainty and security of tenure. Unfortunately, not alone will the Bill before us not help the situation, but it will make matters worse. It is a pretence. As I said earlier, tenants can be removed from buy-to-let properties in the circumstances I have outlined. We need to stop this. We need to support the Focus Ireland amendment to ensure that tenants, on the sale of these buy-to-let properties by landlords, remain in their properties and that we do not add to the already very difficult and traumatic situation faced by families and children.

The declaration of a housing emergency by this Dáil is absolutely necessary to ensure we can deal with the housing emergency and to ensure the right to a roof over one’s head takes priority over private property. Everything else in the Bill and the many other suggestions, such as the rent strategy, are all very fine but they do not deal fundamentally with the problem we have. The declaration of a housing emergency is required to stop, as I said, the evictions, to ensure rent certainty and rent control and to build local authority houses.

This Government and previous Governments have refused to build local authority houses since about 2002. They privatised the local authority housing. Local authorities have not been allowed to build houses since about 2002. I think 75 houses were built last year. In the 1970s, we built up to 10,000 local authority houses every year. We simply must get back to this level of building because there are huge numbers of families out there who will never be able to buy their own home. Because of the manner in which families now get on local authority lists – or maybe do not – a very significant section of the population neither qualifies for a loan or a mortgage nor to get on the local authority list. They are caught in the middle with absolutely no support whatever. They cannot rub two euro together. They exist, unfortunately, from hand to mouth. I meet them every day of the week, as I am sure many, if not all, Deputies meet similar people. They are caught in a situation in which they neither have a mortgage nor are they on a local authority housing list. The income limit for local authority housing lists has been slashed, as has the number of local authority mortgages and bank mortgages given out to people who are effectively working but who are the working poor. These people find themselves paying astronomical and extortionate rents in many cases. I came across a case recently in which a landlord had increased the rent from €560 per month to €750 per month, and that is not the only case. Rents are simply unaffordable for everybody, but particularly for this category of people who do not even qualify for the HAP scheme, as bad as the HAP scheme is.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan:  support Deputies Healy and Jan O’Sullivan on these amendments. When I discussed housing with the Minister before this Government was formed, I made the point that strong action would be required at an early stage. I referred specifically to the declaration of an emergency in this area.

I am sure the Ceann Comhairle recalls all the Tuesday nights and weekend nights like this when we discussed the financial and banking emergencies. The then Government was prepared to introduce emergency measures in that area. After nine months in office, however, this Government is still not prepared to take the fundamental steps that are necessary in the housing area, as outlined in the amendments before the House. I think that is regrettable. I believe the electorate will punish the Government severely for this in due course.

Deputy Catherine Connolly TD and Barrister:

Catherine Connolly:  “I agree with Deputy Seamus Healy on the need for the Government to declare a national emergency. He has asked for it as have I and other Dáil colleagues. Although there is a national housing emergency, the Government has not declared it.”

VOTE ON CALL FOR DEClaration of Housing Emergency

Amendment put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 34; Staon, 24; Níl, 59.

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Information on Hildegarde Naughton   Zoom on Hildegarde Naughton   Naughton, Hildegarde.
Information on Tom Neville   Zoom on Tom Neville   Neville, Tom.
Information on Kate O'Connell   Zoom on Kate O'Connell   O’Connell, Kate.
Information on Patrick O'Donovan   Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan   O’Donovan, Patrick.
Information on Fergus O'Dowd   Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd   O’Dowd, Fergus.
Information on Jan O'Sullivan   Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan   O’Sullivan, Jan.
Information on Willie Penrose   Zoom on Willie Penrose   Penrose, Willie.
Information on John Paul Phelan   Zoom on John Paul Phelan   Phelan, John Paul.
Information on Noel Rock   Zoom on Noel Rock   Rock, Noel.
Information on Shane P.N. Ross   Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross   Ross, Shane.
Information on Brendan Ryan   Zoom on Brendan Ryan   Ryan, Brendan.
Information on Eamon Ryan   Zoom on Eamon Ryan   Ryan, Eamon.
Information on Seán Sherlock   Zoom on Seán Sherlock   Sherlock, Sean.
Information on David Stanton   Zoom on David Stanton   Stanton, David.
Information on Leo Varadkar   Zoom on Leo Varadkar   Varadkar, Leo.
Information on Katherine Zappone   Zoom on Katherine Zappone   Zappone, Katherine.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Seamus Healy and Ruth Coppinger; Níl, Deputies Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin.

Amendment declared lost.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 34; Staon, 24; Níl, 59.

Tá  Independent Seamus Healy,Rural Independent Michael Collins, Sinn Féin,AAA, PBP,Independents 4 Change

Formal Abstention, Fianna Fail

Against     LABOUR, INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE (Including Finian McGrath), Rural Independent Michael Fitmaurice, Indepenent Michael Lowry, Fine Gael

Missing : Rural Independent Mattie McGrath,Independent Dr Harty,  D Healy Rae, M Healy Rae, John Halligan (Independent alliance),Some FF and FG Deputies also missing

Focus Ireland Amendment Designed to Halt Evictions From Dwellings Bought as Buy-To-Lets

Deputy Seamus Healy:Information on Seamus Healy I move amendment No. 80: (Recommended by Focus Ireland )amendment)

In page 38, between lines 17 and 18, to insert the following:

“Restriction on termination of tenancies of buy-to-let dwellings

34. The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 is amended by inserting the following section after section 34:

“Restriction on termination of tenancies of buy-to-let dwellings

34A. (1) A Part 4 tenancy may not be terminated by the landlord on the ground specified in paragraph 3 of the Table to section 34 where the property to which the tenancy agreement relates is the subject of an existing investment mortgage.

(2) Subsection (1) applies to all tenancies, including a tenancy created before the coming into operation of this section.

(3) Where, immediately before the coming into operation of this section, a notice of termination has been served on a tenant in reliance upon a ground provided for in paragraph 3 of the Table to section 34, section 34 shall continue to apply to that notice as if this section had not been enacted.

(4) In this section, ‘investment mortgage’ means a mortgage which has been taken out as security in respect of a residential property that was not at the time of its purchase intended to serve as the principal private residence of the mortgagee, and is subsequently the subject of a tenancy agreement.”.”.

Amendment put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 43; Staon, 25; Níl, 52.

Staon Níl
Information on Gerry AdamsZoom on Gerry Adams   Adams, Gerry. Information on Bobby AylwardZoom on Bobby Aylward   Aylward, Bobby. Information on Maria BaileyZoom on Maria Bailey   Bailey, Maria.
Information on Mick BarryZoom on Mick Barry   Barry, Mick. Information on James BrowneZoom on James Browne   Browne, James. Information on Seán BarrettZoom on Seán Barrett   Barrett, Seán.
Information on Richard Boyd BarrettZoom on Richard Boyd Barrett   Boyd Barrett, Richard. Information on Mary ButlerZoom on Mary Butler   Butler, Mary. Information on Colm BrophyZoom on Colm Brophy   Brophy, Colm.
Information on John BradyZoom on John Brady   Brady, John. Information on Thomas ByrneZoom on Thomas Byrne   Byrne, Thomas. Information on Richard BrutonZoom on Richard Bruton   Bruton, Richard.
Information on Thomas P. BroughanZoom on Thomas P. Broughan   Broughan, Thomas P. Information on Jackie CahillZoom on Jackie Cahill   Cahill, Jackie. Information on Peter BurkeZoom on Peter Burke   Burke, Peter.
Information on Joan CollinsZoom on Joan Collins   Collins, Joan. Information on Dara CallearyZoom on Dara Calleary   Calleary, Dara. Information on Catherine ByrneZoom on Catherine Byrne   Byrne, Catherine.
Information on Michael CollinsZoom on Michael Collins   Collins, Michael. Information on Pat CaseyZoom on Pat Casey   Casey, Pat. Information on Seán CanneyZoom on Seán Canney   Canney, Seán.
Information on Catherine ConnollyZoom on Catherine Connolly   Connolly, Catherine. Information on Shane CassellsZoom on Shane Cassells   Cassells, Shane. Information on Ciaran CannonZoom on Ciaran Cannon   Cannon, Ciarán.
Information on Ruth CoppingerZoom on Ruth Coppinger   Coppinger, Ruth. Information on Jack ChambersZoom on Jack Chambers   Chambers, Jack. Information on Joe CareyZoom on Joe Carey   Carey, Joe.
Information on Seán CroweZoom on Seán Crowe   Crowe, Seán. Information on Barry CowenZoom on Barry Cowen   Cowen, Barry. Information on Marcella Corcoran KennedyZoom on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy   Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
Information on David CullinaneZoom on David Cullinane   Cullinane, David. Information on John CurranZoom on John Curran   Curran, John. Information on Simon CoveneyZoom on Simon Coveney   Coveney, Simon.
Information on Clare DalyZoom on Clare Daly   Daly, Clare. Information on Timmy DooleyZoom on Timmy Dooley   Dooley, Timmy. Information on Michael CreedZoom on Michael Creed   Creed, Michael.
Information on Pearse DohertyZoom on Pearse Doherty   Doherty, Pearse. Information on Seán FlemingZoom on Seán Fleming   Fleming, Sean. Information on Michael D'ArcyZoom on Michael D'Arcy   D’Arcy, Michael.
Information on Dessie EllisZoom on Dessie Ellis   Ellis, Dessie. Information on Seán HaugheyZoom on Seán Haughey   Haughey, Seán. Information on Patrick DeeringZoom on Patrick Deering   Deering, Pat.
Information on Kathleen FunchionZoom on Kathleen Funchion   Funchion, Kathleen. Information on Billy KelleherZoom on Billy Kelleher   Kelleher, Billy. Information on Regina DohertyZoom on Regina Doherty   Doherty, Regina.
Information on Seamus HealyZoom on Seamus Healy   Healy, Seamus. Information on John LahartZoom on John Lahart   Lahart, John. Information on Paschal DonohoeZoom on Paschal Donohoe   Donohoe, Paschal.
Information on Brendan HowlinZoom on Brendan Howlin   Howlin, Brendan. Information on James LawlessZoom on James Lawless   Lawless, James. Information on Andrew DoyleZoom on Andrew Doyle   Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Alan KellyZoom on Alan Kelly   Kelly, Alan. Information on Marc MacSharryZoom on Marc MacSharry   MacSharry, Marc. Information on Bernard DurkanZoom on Bernard Durkan   Durkan, Bernard J.
Information on Gino KennyZoom on Gino Kenny   Kenny, Gino. Information on Charlie McConalogueZoom on Charlie McConalogue   McConalogue, Charlie. Information on Damien EnglishZoom on Damien English   English, Damien.
Information on Martin KennyZoom on Martin Kenny   Kenny, Martin. Information on Aindrias MoynihanZoom on Aindrias Moynihan   Moynihan, Aindrias. Information on Alan FarrellZoom on Alan Farrell   Farrell, Alan.
Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonald   McDonald, Mary Lou. Information on Margaret Murphy O'MahonyZoom on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony   Murphy O’Mahony, Margaret. Information on Frances FitzgeraldZoom on Frances Fitzgerald   Fitzgerald, Frances.
Information on Catherine MartinZoom on Catherine Martin   Martin, Catherine. Information on Kevin O'KeeffeZoom on Kevin O'Keeffe   O’Keeffe, Kevin. Information on Michael FitzmauriceZoom on Michael Fitzmaurice   Fitzmaurice, Michael.
Information on Denise MitchellZoom on Denise Mitchell   Mitchell, Denise. Information on Fiona O'LoughlinZoom on Fiona O'Loughlin   O’Loughlin, Fiona. Information on Peter FitzpatrickZoom on Peter Fitzpatrick   Fitzpatrick, Peter.
Information on Imelda MunsterZoom on Imelda Munster   Munster, Imelda. Information on Frank O'RourkeZoom on Frank O'Rourke   O’Rourke, Frank. Information on Charles FlanaganZoom on Charles Flanagan   Flanagan, Charles.
Information on Catherine MurphyZoom on Catherine Murphy   Murphy, Catherine. Information on Robert TroyZoom on Robert Troy   Troy, Robert. Information on Noel GrealishZoom on Noel Grealish   Grealish, Noel.
Information on Paul MurphyZoom on Paul Murphy   Murphy, Paul. Information on Brendan GriffinZoom on Brendan Griffin   Griffin, Brendan.
Information on Carol NolanZoom on Carol Nolan   Nolan, Carol. Information on Simon HarrisZoom on Simon Harris   Harris, Simon.
Information on Eoin Ó BroinZoom on Eoin Ó Broin   Ó Broin, Eoin. Information on Martin HeydonZoom on Martin Heydon   Heydon, Martin.
Information on Aengus Ó SnodaighZoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh   Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Heather HumphreysZoom on Heather Humphreys   Humphreys, Heather.
Information on Jonathan O'BrienZoom on Jonathan O'Brien   O’Brien, Jonathan. Information on Paul KehoeZoom on Paul Kehoe   Kehoe, Paul.
Information on Louise O'ReillyZoom on Louise O'Reilly   O’Reilly, Louise. Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda Kenny   Kenny, Enda.
Information on Jan O'SullivanZoom on Jan O'Sullivan   O’Sullivan, Jan. Information on Seán KyneZoom on Seán Kyne   Kyne, Seán.
Information on Maureen O'SullivanZoom on Maureen O'Sullivan   O’Sullivan, Maureen. Information on Michael LowryZoom on Michael Lowry   Lowry, Michael.
Information on Willie PenroseZoom on Willie Penrose   Penrose, Willie. Information on Helen McEnteeZoom on Helen McEntee   McEntee, Helen.
Information on Thomas PringleZoom on Thomas Pringle   Pringle, Thomas. Information on Finian McGrathZoom on Finian McGrath   McGrath, Finian.
Information on Brendan RyanZoom on Brendan Ryan   Ryan, Brendan. Information on Joe McHughZoom on Joe McHugh   McHugh, Joe.
Information on Eamon RyanZoom on Eamon Ryan   Ryan, Eamon. Information on Tony McLoughlinZoom on Tony McLoughlin   McLoughlin, Tony.
Information on Seán SherlockZoom on Seán Sherlock   Sherlock, Sean. Information on Josepha MadiganZoom on Josepha Madigan   Madigan, Josepha.
Information on Róisín ShortallZoom on Róisín Shortall   Shortall, Róisín. Information on Mary Mitchell O'ConnorZoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor   Mitchell O’Connor, Mary.
Information on Bríd SmithZoom on Bríd Smith   Smith, Bríd. Information on Dara MurphyZoom on Dara Murphy   Murphy, Dara.
Information on Brian StanleyZoom on Brian Stanley   Stanley, Brian. Information on Eoghan MurphyZoom on Eoghan Murphy   Murphy, Eoghan.
Information on Peadar TóibínZoom on Peadar Tóibín   Tóibín, Peadar. Information on Hildegarde NaughtonZoom on Hildegarde Naughton   Naughton, Hildegarde.
Information on Mick WallaceZoom on Mick Wallace   Wallace, Mick. Information on Tom NevilleZoom on Tom Neville   Neville, Tom.
Information on Kate O'ConnellZoom on Kate O'Connell   O’Connell, Kate.
Information on Patrick O'DonovanZoom on Patrick O'Donovan   O’Donovan, Patrick.
Information on Fergus O'DowdZoom on Fergus O'Dowd   O’Dowd, Fergus.
Information on John Paul PhelanZoom on John Paul Phelan   Phelan, John Paul.
Information on Noel RockZoom on Noel Rock   Rock, Noel.
Information on Shane P.N. RossZoom on Shane P.N. Ross   Ross, Shane.
Information on David StantonZoom on David Stanton   Stanton, David.
Information on Leo VaradkarZoom on Leo Varadkar   Varadkar, Leo.
Information on Katherine ZapponeZoom on Katherine Zappone   Zappone, Katherine.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Seamus Healy and Paul Murphy; Níl, Deputies Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin.

Amendment declared lost.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 43; Staon(Formal abstention), 25; Níl, 52.

Against:  Government, Independent Alliance, MichaelLowry, Michaelfitzmaurice, Noel Grealish

Missing for Vote  :Mattie McGrath, D Healy Rae, M Healy Rae, Dr Harty, some FG Deputies, Some FF Deputies, John Halligan (Independent Alliance)

Continued Evictions (Courts Bill 2016) Passes Final Stage in Dail

For the Bill  FF, FG, Lab, Independent Alliance, Michael Lowry

Seamus Healy TD Amendment to Formally Declare a Housing Emergency and Stop Evictions Defeated by the same parties (see below)

Question put: “That the Bill do now pass.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 86; Staon, 0; Níl, 38.

Staon Níl
Information on Bobby AylwardZoom on Bobby Aylward   Aylward, Bobby. Information on Gerry AdamsZoom on Gerry Adams   Adams, Gerry.
Information on Maria BaileyZoom on Maria Bailey   Bailey, Maria. Information on Mick BarryZoom on Mick Barry   Barry, Mick.
Information on Seán BarrettZoom on Seán Barrett   Barrett, Seán. Information on John BradyZoom on John Brady   Brady, John.
Information on John BrassilZoom on John Brassil   Brassil, John. Information on Thomas P. BroughanZoom on Thomas P. Broughan   Broughan, Thomas P.
Information on Colm BrophyZoom on Colm Brophy   Brophy, Colm. Information on Pat BuckleyZoom on Pat Buckley   Buckley, Pat.
Information on James BrowneZoom on James Browne   Browne, James. Information on Michael CollinsZoom on Michael Collins   Collins, Michael.
Information on Peter BurkeZoom on Peter Burke   Burke, Peter. Information on Catherine ConnollyZoom on Catherine Connolly   Connolly, Catherine.
Information on Mary ButlerZoom on Mary Butler   Butler, Mary. Information on Ruth CoppingerZoom on Ruth Coppinger   Coppinger, Ruth.
Information on Thomas ByrneZoom on Thomas Byrne   Byrne, Thomas. Information on Seán CroweZoom on Seán Crowe   Crowe, Seán.
Information on Jackie CahillZoom on Jackie Cahill   Cahill, Jackie. Information on David CullinaneZoom on David Cullinane   Cullinane, David.
Information on Dara CallearyZoom on Dara Calleary   Calleary, Dara. Information on Clare DalyZoom on Clare Daly   Daly, Clare.
Information on Seán CanneyZoom on Seán Canney   Canney, Seán. Information on Pearse DohertyZoom on Pearse Doherty   Doherty, Pearse.
Information on Ciaran CannonZoom on Ciaran Cannon   Cannon, Ciarán. Information on Martin FerrisZoom on Martin Ferris   Ferris, Martin.
Information on Joe CareyZoom on Joe Carey   Carey, Joe. Information on Michael FitzmauriceZoom on Michael Fitzmaurice   Fitzmaurice, Michael.
Information on Pat CaseyZoom on Pat Casey   Casey, Pat. Information on Kathleen FunchionZoom on Kathleen Funchion   Funchion, Kathleen.
Information on Shane CassellsZoom on Shane Cassells   Cassells, Shane. Information on Danny Healy RaeZoom on Danny Healy Rae   Healy-Rae, Danny.
Information on Jack ChambersZoom on Jack Chambers   Chambers, Jack. Information on Seamus HealyZoom on Seamus Healy   Healy, Seamus.
Information on Lisa ChambersZoom on Lisa Chambers   Chambers, Lisa. Information on Gino KennyZoom on Gino Kenny   Kenny, Gino.
Information on Marcella Corcoran KennedyZoom on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy   Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella. Information on Martin KennyZoom on Martin Kenny   Kenny, Martin.
Information on Simon CoveneyZoom on Simon Coveney   Coveney, Simon. Information on Mattie McGrathZoom on Mattie McGrath   McGrath, Mattie.
Information on Barry CowenZoom on Barry Cowen   Cowen, Barry. Information on Catherine MartinZoom on Catherine Martin   Martin, Catherine.
Information on John CurranZoom on John Curran   Curran, John. Information on Denise MitchellZoom on Denise Mitchell   Mitchell, Denise.
Information on Michael D'ArcyZoom on Michael D'Arcy   D’Arcy, Michael. Information on Imelda MunsterZoom on Imelda Munster   Munster, Imelda.
Information on Jim DalyZoom on Jim Daly   Daly, Jim. Information on Catherine MurphyZoom on Catherine Murphy   Murphy, Catherine.
Information on John DeasyZoom on John Deasy   Deasy, John. Information on Paul MurphyZoom on Paul Murphy   Murphy, Paul.
Information on Patrick DeeringZoom on Patrick Deering   Deering, Pat. Information on Carol NolanZoom on Carol Nolan   Nolan, Carol.
Information on Regina DohertyZoom on Regina Doherty   Doherty, Regina. Information on Eoin Ó BroinZoom on Eoin Ó Broin   Ó Broin, Eoin.
Information on Paschal DonohoeZoom on Paschal Donohoe   Donohoe, Paschal. Information on Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinZoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin   Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Information on Andrew DoyleZoom on Andrew Doyle   Doyle, Andrew. Information on Donnchadh Ó LaoghaireZoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire   Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
Information on Bernard DurkanZoom on Bernard Durkan   Durkan, Bernard J. Information on Aengus Ó SnodaighZoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh   Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
Information on Damien EnglishZoom on Damien English   English, Damien. Information on Jonathan O'BrienZoom on Jonathan O'Brien   O’Brien, Jonathan.
Information on Alan FarrellZoom on Alan Farrell   Farrell, Alan. Information on Louise O'ReillyZoom on Louise O'Reilly   O’Reilly, Louise.
Information on Peter FitzpatrickZoom on Peter Fitzpatrick   Fitzpatrick, Peter. Information on Thomas PringleZoom on Thomas Pringle   Pringle, Thomas.
Information on Charles FlanaganZoom on Charles Flanagan   Flanagan, Charles. Information on Maurice QuinlivanZoom on Maurice Quinlivan   Quinlivan, Maurice.
Information on Seán FlemingZoom on Seán Fleming   Fleming, Sean. Information on Róisín ShortallZoom on Róisín Shortall   Shortall, Róisín.
Information on Brendan GriffinZoom on Brendan Griffin   Griffin, Brendan. Information on Bríd SmithZoom on Bríd Smith   Smith, Bríd.
Information on John HalliganZoom on John Halligan   Halligan, John. Information on Brian StanleyZoom on Brian Stanley   Stanley, Brian.
Information on Simon HarrisZoom on Simon Harris   Harris, Simon. Information on Peadar TóibínZoom on Peadar Tóibín   Tóibín, Peadar.
Information on Seán HaugheyZoom on Seán Haughey   Haughey, Seán.
Information on Martin HeydonZoom on Martin Heydon   Heydon, Martin.
Information on Heather HumphreysZoom on Heather Humphreys   Humphreys, Heather.
Information on Paul KehoeZoom on Paul Kehoe   Kehoe, Paul.
Information on Billy KelleherZoom on Billy Kelleher   Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda Kenny   Kenny, Enda.
Information on John LahartZoom on John Lahart   Lahart, John.
Information on James LawlessZoom on James Lawless   Lawless, James.
Information on Michael LowryZoom on Michael Lowry   Lowry, Michael.
Information on Charlie McConalogueZoom on Charlie McConalogue   McConalogue, Charlie.
Information on Helen McEnteeZoom on Helen McEntee   McEntee, Helen.
Information on Finian McGrathZoom on Finian McGrath   McGrath, Finian.
Information on Michael McGrathZoom on Michael McGrath   McGrath, Michael.
Information on Joe McHughZoom on Joe McHugh   McHugh, Joe.
Information on Tony McLoughlinZoom on Tony McLoughlin   McLoughlin, Tony.
Information on Josepha MadiganZoom on Josepha Madigan   Madigan, Josepha.
Information on Micheál MartinZoom on Micheál Martin   Martin, Micheál.
Information on Mary Mitchell O'ConnorZoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor   Mitchell O’Connor, Mary.
Information on Kevin Boxer MoranZoom on Kevin Boxer Moran   Moran, Kevin Boxer.
Information on Aindrias MoynihanZoom on Aindrias Moynihan   Moynihan, Aindrias.
Information on Michael MoynihanZoom on Michael Moynihan   Moynihan, Michael.
Information on Margaret Murphy O'MahonyZoom on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony   Murphy O’Mahony, Margaret.
Information on Eoghan MurphyZoom on Eoghan Murphy   Murphy, Eoghan.
Information on Eugene MurphyZoom on Eugene Murphy   Murphy, Eugene.
Information on Hildegarde NaughtonZoom on Hildegarde Naughton   Naughton, Hildegarde.
Information on Tom NevilleZoom on Tom Neville   Neville, Tom.
Information on Michael NoonanZoom on Michael Noonan   Noonan, Michael.
Information on Éamon Ó CuívZoom on Éamon Ó Cuív   Ó Cuív, Éamon.
Information on Jim O'CallaghanZoom on Jim O'Callaghan   O’Callaghan, Jim.
Information on Kate O'ConnellZoom on Kate O'Connell   O’Connell, Kate.
Information on Willie O'DeaZoom on Willie O'Dea   O’Dea, Willie.
Information on Patrick O'DonovanZoom on Patrick O'Donovan   O’Donovan, Patrick.
Information on Fergus O'DowdZoom on Fergus O'Dowd   O’Dowd, Fergus.
Information on Fiona O'LoughlinZoom on Fiona O'Loughlin   O’Loughlin, Fiona.
Information on Frank O'RourkeZoom on Frank O'Rourke   O’Rourke, Frank.
Information on John Paul PhelanZoom on John Paul Phelan   Phelan, John Paul.
Information on Anne RabbitteZoom on Anne Rabbitte   Rabbitte, Anne.
Information on Michael RingZoom on Michael Ring   Ring, Michael.
Information on Noel RockZoom on Noel Rock   Rock, Noel.
Information on Shane P.N. RossZoom on Shane P.N. Ross   Ross, Shane.
Information on Brendan RyanZoom on Brendan Ryan   Ryan, Brendan.
Information on Eamon ScanlonZoom on Eamon Scanlon   Scanlon, Eamon.
Information on Seán SherlockZoom on Seán Sherlock   Sherlock, Sean.
Information on Brendan SmithZoom on Brendan Smith   Smith, Brendan.
Information on David StantonZoom on David Stanton   Stanton, David.
Information on Robert TroyZoom on Robert Troy   Troy, Robert.
Information on Leo VaradkarZoom on Leo Varadkar   Varadkar, Leo.
Information on Katherine ZapponeZoom on Katherine Zappone   Zappone, Katherine.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Seamus Healy.

Question declared carried.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:Information on Pat the Cope GallagherZoom on Pat the Cope GallagherA message shall be sent to the Seanad acquainting it accordingly.

Deputy Seamus Healy: I move amendment No. 5:

In page 8, between lines 26 and 27, to insert the following:

9. Dáil Éireann formally declares that a housing emergency exists in the State and while this emergency continues the right of any person to remain in the dwelling in which the person currently resides will take precedence over any property right of any other person—

(a) accordingly no court or other authority shall order the removal of the current occupant of a dwelling, or by its decisions enable such removal notwithstanding the provisions of any Act currently in force including the provisions of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013,

(b) the housing emergency declared in this section can only be terminated by a vote of Dáil Éireann, and the Government including any Minister of the Government are precluded from annulling the housing emergency without approval in such a vote,

(c) in view of the Housing Emergency declared here, the power of any Minister of Government to raise the market value threshold of €75,000 for single or multiple dwellings for consideration of possession of dwellings cases by the Circuit Court by activating or commencing sections of existing Acts without approval by a vote of Dáil Éireann, is cancelled.”.

Amendment put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 37; Staon, 0; Níl, 84.

Staon Níl
Information on Gerry AdamsZoom on Gerry Adams   Adams, Gerry. Information on Bobby AylwardZoom on Bobby Aylward   Aylward, Bobby.
Information on Mick BarryZoom on Mick Barry   Barry, Mick. Information on Maria BaileyZoom on Maria Bailey   Bailey, Maria.
Information on John BradyZoom on John Brady   Brady, John. Information on Seán BarrettZoom on Seán Barrett   Barrett, Seán.
Information on Thomas P. BroughanZoom on Thomas P. Broughan   Broughan, Thomas P. Information on John BrassilZoom on John Brassil   Brassil, John.
Information on Pat BuckleyZoom on Pat Buckley   Buckley, Pat. Information on Colm BrophyZoom on Colm Brophy   Brophy, Colm.
Information on Michael CollinsZoom on Michael Collins   Collins, Michael. Information on James BrowneZoom on James Browne   Browne, James.
Information on Ruth CoppingerZoom on Ruth Coppinger   Coppinger, Ruth. Information on Peter BurkeZoom on Peter Burke   Burke, Peter.
Information on Seán CroweZoom on Seán Crowe   Crowe, Seán. Information on Mary ButlerZoom on Mary Butler   Butler, Mary.
Information on David CullinaneZoom on David Cullinane   Cullinane, David. Information on Thomas ByrneZoom on Thomas Byrne   Byrne, Thomas.
Information on Clare DalyZoom on Clare Daly   Daly, Clare. Information on Jackie CahillZoom on Jackie Cahill   Cahill, Jackie.
Information on Pearse DohertyZoom on Pearse Doherty   Doherty, Pearse. Information on Dara CallearyZoom on Dara Calleary   Calleary, Dara.
Information on Martin FerrisZoom on Martin Ferris   Ferris, Martin. Information on Seán CanneyZoom on Seán Canney   Canney, Seán.
Information on Michael FitzmauriceZoom on Michael Fitzmaurice   Fitzmaurice, Michael. Information on Ciaran CannonZoom on Ciaran Cannon   Cannon, Ciarán.
Information on Kathleen FunchionZoom on Kathleen Funchion   Funchion, Kathleen. Information on Joe CareyZoom on Joe Carey   Carey, Joe.
Information on Seamus HealyZoom on Seamus Healy   Healy, Seamus. Information on Pat CaseyZoom on Pat Casey   Casey, Pat.
Information on Danny Healy RaeZoom on Danny Healy Rae   Healy-Rae, Danny. Information on Shane CassellsZoom on Shane Cassells   Cassells, Shane.
Information on Gino KennyZoom on Gino Kenny   Kenny, Gino. Information on Jack ChambersZoom on Jack Chambers   Chambers, Jack.
Information on Martin KennyZoom on Martin Kenny   Kenny, Martin. Information on Lisa ChambersZoom on Lisa Chambers   Chambers, Lisa.
Information on Mattie McGrathZoom on Mattie McGrath   McGrath, Mattie. Information on Marcella Corcoran KennedyZoom on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy   Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
Information on Catherine MartinZoom on Catherine Martin   Martin, Catherine. Information on Simon CoveneyZoom on Simon Coveney   Coveney, Simon.
Information on Denise MitchellZoom on Denise Mitchell   Mitchell, Denise. Information on Barry CowenZoom on Barry Cowen   Cowen, Barry.
Information on Imelda MunsterZoom on Imelda Munster   Munster, Imelda. Information on John CurranZoom on John Curran   Curran, John.
Information on Catherine MurphyZoom on Catherine Murphy   Murphy, Catherine. Information on Jim DalyZoom on Jim Daly   Daly, Jim.
Information on Paul MurphyZoom on Paul Murphy   Murphy, Paul. Information on Michael D'ArcyZoom on Michael D'Arcy   D’Arcy, Michael.
Information on Carol NolanZoom on Carol Nolan   Nolan, Carol. Information on John DeasyZoom on John Deasy   Deasy, John.
Information on Eoin Ó BroinZoom on Eoin Ó Broin   Ó Broin, Eoin. Information on Patrick DeeringZoom on Patrick Deering   Deering, Pat.
Information on Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinZoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin   Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín. Information on Regina DohertyZoom on Regina Doherty   Doherty, Regina.
Information on Donnchadh Ó LaoghaireZoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire   Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh. Information on Paschal DonohoeZoom on Paschal Donohoe   Donohoe, Paschal.
Information on Aengus Ó SnodaighZoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh   Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Andrew DoyleZoom on Andrew Doyle   Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Jonathan O'BrienZoom on Jonathan O'Brien   O’Brien, Jonathan. Information on Bernard DurkanZoom on Bernard Durkan   Durkan, Bernard J.
Information on Louise O'ReillyZoom on Louise O'Reilly   O’Reilly, Louise. Information on Damien EnglishZoom on Damien English   English, Damien.
Information on Thomas PringleZoom on Thomas Pringle   Pringle, Thomas. Information on Alan FarrellZoom on Alan Farrell   Farrell, Alan.
Information on Maurice QuinlivanZoom on Maurice Quinlivan   Quinlivan, Maurice. Information on Peter FitzpatrickZoom on Peter Fitzpatrick   Fitzpatrick, Peter.
Information on Eamon RyanZoom on Eamon Ryan   Ryan, Eamon. Information on Charles FlanaganZoom on Charles Flanagan   Flanagan, Charles.
Information on Bríd SmithZoom on Bríd Smith   Smith, Bríd. Information on Seán FlemingZoom on Seán Fleming   Fleming, Sean.
Information on Brian StanleyZoom on Brian Stanley   Stanley, Brian. Information on Brendan GriffinZoom on Brendan Griffin   Griffin, Brendan.
Information on Peadar TóibínZoom on Peadar Tóibín   Tóibín, Peadar. Information on Simon HarrisZoom on Simon Harris   Harris, Simon.
Information on Seán HaugheyZoom on Seán Haughey   Haughey, Seán.
Information on Martin HeydonZoom on Martin Heydon   Heydon, Martin.
Information on Heather HumphreysZoom on Heather Humphreys   Humphreys, Heather.
Information on Paul KehoeZoom on Paul Kehoe   Kehoe, Paul.
Information on Billy KelleherZoom on Billy Kelleher   Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda Kenny   Kenny, Enda.
Information on John LahartZoom on John Lahart   Lahart, John.
Information on James LawlessZoom on James Lawless   Lawless, James.
Information on Michael LowryZoom on Michael Lowry   Lowry, Michael.
Information on Charlie McConalogueZoom on Charlie McConalogue   McConalogue, Charlie.
Information on Helen McEnteeZoom on Helen McEntee   McEntee, Helen.
Information on Finian McGrathZoom on Finian McGrath   McGrath, Finian.
Information on Michael McGrathZoom on Michael McGrath   McGrath, Michael.
Information on Joe McHughZoom on Joe McHugh   McHugh, Joe.
Information on Tony McLoughlinZoom on Tony McLoughlin   McLoughlin, Tony.
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Tellers: Tá, Deputies Seamus Healy and Bríd Smith; Níl, Deputies Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin.

Amendment declared lost.

————————

It Was Left To Seamus Healy TD To Call A Vote At Second Stage in The Dail against The Planning, Development (Housing) And Residential Tenancies Bill. (Otherwise Known As The PRETENCE, Hypocracy and Continuation Of Evictions Bill)

The Dáil divided: Tá, 91; Staon, 0; Níl, 45. Missing 157-136= 21

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Joe Carey and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Seamus Healy and Catherine  Murphy .                                Question declared carried.

 For the Motion:   FG,  FF , Michael Lowry, Finian McGrath,Dr Michael Harty, Katherine Zappone. Shane Ross, Sean Canney, “Boxer” Moran, Michael Fitzmaurice, Stephen Donnelly, Noel Grealish

Missing :John Halligan, Joan Burton, Willie Penrose, Sean Sherlock, Danny Healy-Rae, (Some FF and FG Deputies  were Also missing)

Staonadh (Staon) (Abstain) None  (Deputies can effectively abstain by not voting but this is not recorded)

——————————–

SEAMUS HEALY TD CALLS FOR AN END TO EVICTIONS AND FORMAL DECLARATION OF A HOUSING EMERGENCY

Government Must End Pretense of Concern and Hypocrisy

Speech on Planning Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Bill 2016

Video Link

From Official Dáil Record  07/12/2016

Deputy Seamus Healy:Information on Seamus HealyZoom on Seamus HealyIn the short time available to me, I will address in the main the residential tenancy aspects of the Bill. The Bill is a pretence. It purports to give protection to tenants when properties in which there are existing tenants change ownership. Cruelly and grotesquely, it provides that where a landlord can get 20% more money with vacant possession in the sale, the tenants must leave. It also provides that if apartments are sold in lots of under 20, the tenants have to go. I understand that this number has been reduced to under five by a Seanad amendment. However, 80% of tenants evicted from apartments are evicted by landlords with under five rental properties. In a word, the Bill continues the cruel system under which tenants are evicted when rental properties are sold. The Government continues to put the rights of property owners over the right to home. It is fast-tracking evictions in the Courts Bill, which is also before this House. The largest single group among the homeless has previously been in private rented accommodation. This Bill will ensure that this continues.

I will be proposing the amendment suggested by Focus Ireland, the homelessness charity. The amendment provides tenants in buy-to-let properties will continue in residence despite the sale of the property in all circumstances. Focus Ireland, the leading charity working with homeless families and those facing homelessness, says up to 20 families are becoming homeless each month simply because their buy-to-let landlord has been forced to sell by his or her bank. This means that 40 children every month are losing their homes and joining the record 1,200 families who are already homeless across the country.

Along with escalating rents, these evictions are one of the leading causes of family homelessness. There are hundreds, if not thousands, more families waiting to face the same trauma. According to the Central Bank, there are a further 15,000 buy-to-let mortgages that are more than two years in arrears. Whether they know it or not, all tenants in these properties are at risk of eviction. Other countries have found solutions to this. Just up the road, in the North, banks that repossess a buy-to-let property are prohibited from evicting the tenant. We must do the same. If the Focus Ireland amendment is passed, the grotesque escape clauses in this Bill enabling eviction of buy-to-let tenants will fall.

I will also be proposing the formal declaration of a housing emergency by Dáil Éireann. This would put the right of families to a home above the property rights of vultures and other landlords. Landlords and the Minister for Finance would then be unable to block a halt to convictions and be unable to block a halt to rent freezes by citing a qualified right to private property in the Constitution, which is of course subject to the public good. The Government itself has formally certified the continuation of a financial emergency as recently as June of this year to enable it to continue with pay and pension cuts under FEMPI legislation. The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Deputy Coveney, has said that a housing emergency exists. My amendment would formally declare that to be the case. The Taoiseach has asked the European Union to relax the provisions of the EU fiscal treaty to enable borrowing to build social housing but he has not declared a formal housing emergency at home. Of course, the European Union knows the Irish Government is only going through the motions because a housing emergency has not been declared. I noted over the weekend that the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, called on the European Union to give flexibility under the fiscal treaty at the EU Finance Ministers’ meeting. He and the rest of the Government can now show they are serious by formally declaring the housing emergency. It is time for an end to pretence and hypocrisy. We must halt evictions for mortgaged and rented properties as a first step in tackling the housing emergency.

———-

Committee Stage Of Courts Bill Adjourned as it is revealed that State-Owned PTSB has appealed Hogan Judgement to The Supreme Court

But No Media Coverage Despite Circulation of Report and Full-Time Dáil Correspondents Employed???

Government Bill TO FAST-TRACK EVICTIONS (Courts Bill) Adjourned
Government Caught out in double try-on
Government attempted to Appeal Hogan Judgement through State Owned PTSB appeal to Supreme Court while at the same time taking Courts Bill designed to overcome Hogan Judgement through Dáil—Committee Stage of Courts Bill has been adjourned after Government found out !
Minister Staunton claimed Minister Noonan knew nothing about state owned PTSB appeal to Supreme Court!!!!

Explanation

If tenants and mortgage holders could not be evicted in future, the value of property in dwellings would fall sharply. NAMA would get far lower sale price for blocks of apartments. Vultures who have already bought apartment blocks would make far less profit. Banks, including state-owned AIB and PTSB would be worth far less as their loan books would fall in value. Under the Eu Fiscal Treaty which cedes all Irish economic sovereignty, the state debt to GDP ratio must be progressively reduced.  FF/FG/Lab have no intention of doing this by taxing the huge assets of the Irish rich.(See Irish Super-Rich Awash with Money in another post on this blog.) Instead they hope to do it by selling off Irish assets and using the proceeds to repay debt. Already the Dundrum and ILAC centres are in majority foreign ownership as are many shopping centres and much commercial and other property throughout the country. The government intends to sell off AIB, PTSB, EBS and use the proceeds to pay down state debt. It also wants to sell off its shareholding in other banks for the same purpose. Consequently it wants to keep interest rates on mortgages and loans to small business kept very high by European standards. It wants the value of bank loan books kept high by accelerating evictions so that banks can recover distressed bank loans.(AIB has reduced its bad debts by €18.4bn since the peak in June 2013 – a reduction of 63pc over the three years.This leaves 10.8 billion of impaired loans on its books to-day). Government is also accelerating the sell-off of properties owned by the state through NAMA.

It is in the interest of the Irish Government and the very rich Irish whose interest it represents to accelerate repossession of dwellings and the eviction of residents.

The Land and Conveyancing Act 2013, introduced by Fg-Lab, was a major step in the acceleration of evictions of tenants and distressed home owners. It transferred the majority of repossession cases from the slow and clogged-up High Court to the county  Circuit Courts.  However a case was taken to the high court against Permanent TSB by a borrower and the court “reluctantly” ruled that the Circuit Court had no Jurisdiction (right to rule) in a whole series of cases involving commercial property and buy-to-let dwellings.

This judgement known as the Hogan Judgement would slow up repossessions and consequent eviction of tenants if not altered. The Government acted quickly through the initiation in the Dáil of the Courts Bill 2016 to restore the jurisdiction to the Circuit Courts which had been removed by the Hogan Judgement. It was generally believed that this was the means by which the government intended to restore the pace of eviction of tenants.

The amendments tabled by Seamus Healy TD (carried below) were designed to formally declare a housing emergency, to  halt evictions and to resist the intent of government to speed them up.

Amendments were to be given detailed consideration at the Committee Stage of the Bill on Dec 1, 2016.

However the Committee Stage of the Bill was adjourned because it was discovered that Government through PTSB, which it owns, was seeking to speed up evictions by appealing to the Supreme Court to strike down the HOGAN JUDGEMENT at the same time as it was proposing the Courts Bill in the Dail for the same purpose-That is speeding up evictions.

For some reason the Government must fear that the Bill alone will not be effective in this regard. Hence it is attempting to use a twin-track approach.

The government is pretending that it was unaware of the Supreme Court Appeal though this was reported in Irish Times on November 17.

Department of Finance, headed by Minister Michael Noonan, has a special banking affairs section. It is not credible that Noonan was unaware of the Appeal

The majority of the Oireachtas Committee reused to continue to discuss the Bill and the session was adjourned

Amendments to Court Bill (Fast-Tracking Evictions) from Seamus Healy TD

Seamus Healy TD has submitted the following amendments for the Committee Stage of The Courts Bill,2016:

Amendments

First Amendment  Formally Declaring a Housing Emergency

Amendment for Committee Stage of Courts Bill,2016

From lines 15 to 22 Inclusive insert new section 1, paragraph 1 of the Courts Bill,2016:

  • (1)Dáil Eireann formally declares that a housing emergency exists in the state and while this emergency continues the right of any person to remain in the dwelling in which the person   currently resides will take precedence over any property right of any other person including that of landlords
  • Accordingly no court or other authority shall order the removal  of the current occupant of a dwelling  or by its decisions enable such removal notwithstanding the provisions of any Act currently in force including the provisions of the Land and Conveyancy Act 2013
  • The housing emergency declared in this section can only be terminated by a vote of Dáil Eireann and government including any minister of government are precluded from annulling the housing emergency without approval  in such a vote

and renumber existing sections  accordingly

Second Amendment   Stopping The State RETROSPECTIVELY MAKING FLAWED EVICTION CLAIMS LEGAL

Amendment for Committee Stage of Courts Bill,2016

From lines 15 to 22 Inclusive delete section 1, paragraph 1 of the Courts Bill,2016 as set out below

  1. (1) Subject to subsection (2), where proceedings have, before the passing of this Act,

been initiated in the Circuit Court, being proceedings that—

(a) are referred to in a specified provision, and

(b) relate to a property that is not rateable,

and which the Circuit Court would have jurisdiction to hear and determine if the

relevant associated provision had been in operation immediately before the               2

proceedings’ initiation, then the Circuit Court shall have, and be deemed always to

have had, jurisdiction to hear and determine the proceedings.

Seamus Healy TD 087-2802199

AMENDMENT TO PLANNING and DEVELOPMENT (Housing) and Residential Tenancies ACT (2016)

( government is pretending to protect tenants when buy-to-lets are sold)

AMENDMENT RECOMMENDED BY FOCUS IRELAND TO MAKE PROTECTION OF

TENANTS  REAL in Sale of Buy-to-Lets

Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2016

Committee Stage Amendment

________________

 

New Section 16.

In page 48, after line 37 to insert the following new section –

“Restriction on termination of tenancies of buy-to-let dwellings.

  1. The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 is amended by inserting the following section after section 34 –

 

Restriction on termination of tenancies of buy-to-let dwellings.

34A. – (1) A Part 4 tenancy may not be terminated by the landlord on the ground specified in paragraph 3 of the Table to section 34 where the property to which the tenancy agreement relates is the subject of an existing investment mortgage.

(2) Subsection (1) applies to all tenancies, including a tenancy created before the coming into operation of this section.

(3) Where, immediately before the coming into operation of this section, a notice of termination has been served on a tenant in reliance upon a ground provided for in paragraph 3 of the Table to section 34, section 34 shall continue to apply to that notice as if this section had not been enacted.

(4) In this section, “investment mortgage” means a mortgage which has been taken out as security in respect of a residential property that was not at the time of its purchase intended to serve as the principal private residence of the mortgagee, and is subsequently the subject of a tenancy agreement.”.

Seamus Healy TD   087-2802199

———————————————————–

GOVERNMENT OWNED BANKS AND OTHER LENDERS SEEK TO EVICT OVER 2000 FAMILIES BEFORE CHRISTMAS

More than 2,000 HOME REPOSSESSION Cases listed in the courts before Christmas-

placing stress on families before the festive season

Significant “escalation” in enforcement orders since the middle of the summer

Mark O’Regan  Sunday IndependentPUBLISHED20/11/2016  

The rise of family home repossession court cases is set to continue in the run-up to Christmas, with figures currently at 2,600 a month.

There are 650 family court appearances a week, and experts have predicted there will be this many into next year.

It came amid claims of a significant “escalation” in enforcement orders since the middle of the summer.

The Sunday Independent has learned more than 2,000 cases will come before the courts in the next five weeks – placing stress on families before the festive season.

New Beginning – a group of lawyers providing representation for those facing repossession – said 100 cases on average are being heard a month in Limerick, with the figure for Cork running at 200.

In Meath, 150 cases are being heard on average each month, with 100 in Tipperary, 46 in Kilkenny, 88 in Mayo, and 83 in Kerry. Central Bank figures have revealed the number of repossessions of a “primary dwelling home” has dramatically increased in the past four years.

In 2015, 726 homes were repossessed. This compared with 315 dwellings seized by banks and financial institutions in 2014, and 251 in 2013.

In the first six months of this year, 240 homes were retaken by financial institutions.

Founder of New Beginning Ross Maguire said there had been a marked escalation in enforcement orders in recent months. He added: “There is a cohort of people in the country who, no matter what they do, cannot afford their mortgage, and are facing inevitable repossession.”

David Hall, director of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation, said the “system is failing” families grappling with mortgage debt. He called on Housing Minister Simon Coveney to declare a national emergency on the issue.

He said: “There are 34,000 cases in arrears of more than two years and 59,000 between one and two years.”


VOTING ON SECOND STAGE OF COURTS BILL IN DAIL

Bill  removes legal obstacles to continued repossession of dwellings which are not principal private residence of the owner through the Circuit Court. The Government has also announced that it will seperately raise the threshold for the market value for such properties to be considered by Circuit Court from 75,000 to 3 million by Ministerial Order.

These measures cannot fail to increase the number of evictions of tenants  from apartments and houses, increasing homelessness.

This will restore the value of such properties to Vultures, Banks, Nama. This had been “reluctantly”damaged by a Supreme Court ruling

FF, FG, Labour, Independent Alliance(Including Finian McGrath) ,INDEPENDENT Dr Harty (Clare), VOTE FOR COURTS BILL (Second Stage) INCREASING EVICTIONS AND HOMELESSNESS

VOTED AGAINST:Seamus Healy,Sinn Fein, AAA-PBP, Independents for Change, Social Democrats, Greens, 3 Rural Independents (Michael Fitzmaurice, Michael Collins, Mattie McGrath)

DID NOT VOTE: Noel Grealish, Michael Lowry, Healy-Rae (2)

Bill has now Gone to Committee Stage. A final Vote on Bill in Dail is expected before Christmas Recess.

Question put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 92; Staon, 0; Níl, 42.

Staon Níl
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Tellers: Tá, Deputies Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Jonathan O’Brien.

Question declared carried.


FORMAL DECLARATION OF HOUSING EMERGENCY NEEDED TO REDUCE  OUTRAGEOUS MORTGAGE RATES

MINISTER NOONAN OPPOSES MOVE TO REDUCE RATES BY CITING PROTECTION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS OF BANKS IN THE CONSTITUTION

LENDERS CHARGE UP TO 5% INTEREST WHILE ACCESSING MONEY FROM ECB AT 0%-MORTGAGE HOLDERS BEING USED TO BAIL OUT BANKS

The protection of property rights in the constitution is not absolute. It is subject to the public good. Governments introduced a formal declaration of a financial emergency to enable them to confiscate private property in pensions.But the government is refusing to formally declare a housing emergency which would enable the private property rights of banks, vultures and landlords to be overcome in order to halt evictions.

Now NOONAN has given another reason for the refusal-it could prevent lenders being allowed to fleece mortgage holders

These huge interest rates are making it impossible for many householders to escape from mortgage distress which means they are constantly threatened with eviction

From Irish Examiner  21/10/2016     Dáil Report

Mr McGrath(FF) said banks here are being allowed by the Central Bank to charge borrowers up to 5% when they themselves are accessing the money at close to 0% rates.

“Real constitutional issues will need to be considered as this Bill is further progressed by the Oireachtas. As it is drafted, the Bill will clearly impact on the existing property rights of some creditors,” Minister Noonan  (FG) said.

SPEECH ON HOUSING AND EVICTIONS

Seamus Healy TD IN Dáil

Listen Live

https://wuag.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/housing-crisis-and-failed-clonlara-eviction/

Deputy Seamus Healy:   The proposals in respect of social housing in this budget are grossly inadequate. Housing is a fundamental right of human beings but shamefully the Taoiseach has written to the EU seeking permission to borrow the money required to build social housing. Ireland does not have the sovereignty to house its own people.

There are 140,000 people on local authority waiting lists and in the first four months of this year an additional 3,527 have been added to that figure. This probably underestimates the situation because people now availing of the housing assistance payments, formerly rent supplement, are being removed from local authority lists. We need an emergency house building programme of at least 10,000 houses per year to address this situation. The Government’s target of 47,000 houses to be provided between now and 2021 will fall far short of dealing with the problem. In 2021 we will be, as we are today, in a housing crisis. There is an absolute necessity to declare a housing emergency. The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Deputy Coveney, said publicly in July that he believed we had a housing crisis. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Donohoe, signed off on an emergency measure to ensure that public service pensioners were deprived of their pensions under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2015 but this Government refuses to declare a housing emergency which is absolutely necessary to halt evictions generally and in rented and mortgaged properties. The Government, through the banks it owns, Allied Irish Banks, AIB, and Permanent TSB is effectively allowing evictions. It is also allowing them through other banks, and landlords, including vulture funds. These evictions are continuing. As a result, many unfortunate families have been devastated by suicide.

A shocking eviction was attempted last week in Clonlara in County Clare. I demand that the Minister for Justice and Equality instruct the Garda to investigate the conduct of security companies at that failed eviction of a family. Will the Minister establish what security companies were involved and did those security firms possess an execution order for taking possession of that family home? Did they present an execution order to the owners of the property? If they had no execution order or did not present it to the family, were they guilty of trespass? Were all the security firms involved in this horrific event licensed according to the law? Had all the individuals involved in this attempted repossession legal authority for their actions? Were all the individuals registered employees of the security firms. Were children unlawfully detained during that incident? Were all involved acting on behalf of the Bank of Ireland in which the State has a significant shareholding? This was a shocking and horrific attempted eviction. Thankfully, it failed. In a year when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of 1916, when we promised to cherish all the children of the nation equally, what would Pearse and Connolly and the signatories to the Proclamation think of the eviction battering ram of 2016?

I compliment the family, their friends and neighbours, and the anti-eviction task force which successfully stopped this eviction. People power stopped this eviction. People power will force this Government to stop evictions and to declare a housing emergency. The sooner the Government does that, the better.

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Supply of new houses to fall short amid surge of demand-ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE (ESRI)

Irish Examiner   By Caroline O’Doherty,Senior Reporter   05/12/2006

House building is set to fall even further behind demand based on new forecasts that put the number of extra homes needed at a higher level than previously thought.

The Economic and Social Research Institute says that demand for new homes will grow to more than 30,000 a year within eight years.

Under the Government’s current housing plan, a target of 25,000 per year has been set for the coming years but nowhere near that number has been provided this year and there are doubts that the figure can be reached next year either.

Population growth, fuelled in part by net immigration which returned this year for the first time since 2009 and is likely to strengthen because of Brexit, will be the key driver of demand.

Apart from the challenges for the construction industry, the ESRI says domestic banks would struggle to provide the necessary level of credit without affecting safeguards around deposit to loan ratios.

In a report published today, the ESRI warns: “Results of our analysis suggest that in the future the traditional deposit base will be unable to fund the level of credit required to meet the housing demands of the economy. This will require significant changes in the domestic financial sector.

“Given the calamitous events of the past decade, a significant expansion in the lending capacity of the domestic banking sector will immediately give rise to concerns about the emergence of another credit- fuelled bubble.”

It suggests there may be a case for the entry of foreign banks into the Irish retail banking sector.

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CLARE FM REPORT REVERSAL OF ATTEMPTED EVICTION AT CLONLARA

http://www.clare.fm/news/garda%C3%AD-investigate-allegations-assault-following-attempted-clonlara-eviction

CLARE FM  WEBSITE

GARDAÍ INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF ASSAULT FOLLOWING ATTEMPTED CLONLARA EVICTION

18 October, 2016 – 08:18

Gardaí are investigating allegations of assault following an attempted eviction in South East Clare.

It’s understood the court-sanctioned reposession of a home in Clonlara on Friday has since been abandoned.

A video of the incident was posted on Facebook in recent days.

The video of the attempted court-sanctioned eviction in Clonlara has been viewed tens of thousands of times since it was uploaded to facebook on Friday.

It appears to show a number of men, believed to be from a security company, being confronted by members of the Anti Eviction Taskforce.

It’s understood the eviction was subsequently abandoned, after family members gained access to the home, which had been sealed off with steel shutters.

A senior Garda Spokesperson has confirmed to Clare FM that members of An Garda Síochána responded to a call-out to the area to prevent a breach of peace.

An allegation of assault has been made, but no arrests have yet been made.

Gardaí are continuing with their investigations.

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REPORT ON CLONLARA HOME SEIZURE BY LIAM DEEGAN ON FACEBOOK

(Seamus HEALY TD HAS PUT DOWN A PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION ASKING MINISTER FOR JUSTICE FRANCIS FITZGERALD TO INSTRUCT THE GARDAI TO INVESTIGATE ALL THE ALLEGATIONS SET OUT IN LIAM DEEGAN’S REPORT)

THE LAND OF SHAME AND WHERE BAILIFFS PLAY HIDE AND SEEK FROM THE LAW

THE CIRCUIT COURT

In another illegal and shameful attempt at an eviction by the Bank of Ireland, again in County Clare and this time on a mother with seven children. The mother of seven had been understood to be in the Circuit court on Tuesday last having an appeal heard and had arrived home only to find that one or more security companies had broken into the house.

The possession order had originally been given in the Circuit Court on the basis of rateable valuation as previously used in civil bills by the banks. It is not yet clear as to why the Circuit Court dismissed the families appeal on Tuesday.

Ironically the Circuit Courts are still hearing cases based on rateable valuation even though it has been ruled that the Circuit Court no longer enjoys any such jurisdiction due to a judgement given by Ms Justice Murphy some months ago and added to by having had the verdict subsequently upheld by the Court of Appeal within the last number of weeks.

CHILDREN LOCKED IN A BEDROOM

The security companies involved immediately moved in to take possession, having been seen by passers-by to be hanging around the area earlier that morning. Metal shutters were fitted to the most of the windows and doors of the property to stop anybody trying to enter or leave, with the exception of one bedroom window which remained unfitted with the shutters.

Meanwhile, members of the family have claimed that they remained locked inside the property unable to access bathrooms and the kitchen area as security personnel remained in situ with them. Calls were made for help by the family and as more family, neighbours and friends arrived at the scene, the situation appeared to turn nasty with one security man seen to block and assault a man trying to gain entry into the house to get access to the children locked in a bedroom by security personnel.

Witnesses allege that the security team had taken chairs and mattresses from the children’s bedroom leaving them nowhere to sleep. Two of the children have further alleged that they were physically assaulted by members of the security team in the bedroom.

According to eyewitnesses and a video shown on social media sites and seen by thousands of people, the security operative with grey hair and clearly seen in the video is alleged to have assaulted a man attempting to gain entry and can be seen to leave the house to confront another bystander in the garden. It appeared from the video that a verbal altercation ensued between the two men, with the security operative going head to head with the other man in a very intimidating manner and then seen to back off.

The identity of that particular security operative has now been established as Kevin Maguire from Carrigaline in County Cork. Maguire was not wearing any form of identification including any Private Security Authority issued ID card and refused to identify himself when asked to by people at the scene. The PSA register has no record of Maguire as an individual licence holder under that name.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Maguire claims to work as a director for Senture Security Limited; however there is no record of him or anyone of that name on record in the CRO acting as a company director. Maguire’s wife Mary is listed instead as a director of Senture Security Ltd.

Further to that Maguire’s wife Mary also is named as a director of Secure Management Solutions Limited with an address in Citywest, Dublin 24. Maguire, according to his LinkedIn profile has claimed that he is a director of this company and again there is no record of him in the CRO listed as holding such a position.

According to sources, Maguire was on the board of management of Carrigaline Community School from 2012 and was made Chairman during the period of 2014 to 2015.

SECURITY COMPANIES ON SITE

The primary security company/companies allegedly involved were named locally and on social media as Nightsafe Security Services Ltd and Active Security Management Ltd, both with the same address in Melitta Rd in Kildare town and both owned by ex-soldier Ross Howard and fellow director Tristan Hogan. Their website has a Vina Skehan (otherwise known as Vina Horgan) listed as sales director.

After an initial investigation it was discovered that Horgan-Skehan who was clearly witnessed to be in attendance at the attempted eviction is not registered with the Private Security Authority (PSA) under either of her assumed surnames. Another individual who goes by the name of John McShera and who is living in Boyle, County Roscommon was later identified as one of the security personnel from his Facebook profile and by witnesses on the ground and is alleged to be unregistered with the PSA under that name.

Another member identified on social media and by witnesses at the scene was named as Anthony Hobbs from Kerry. Hobbs is alleged to be unregistered with the Private Security Authority under that name.

Another individual clearly identified at the scene was named as Czech national, Roman Fako. Although Fako is registered with the Private Security Authority, it is understood from sources that information pertaining to his licence has been passed to the Private Security Authority.

Other members of the security team have now taken down their Facebook pages after they were identified by eyewitnesses at the scene. However ongoing investigations are continuing into confirming their identities.

NO ID WORN BY SECURITY

None of the security personnel wore any form of PSA issued ID card and had refused to identify themselves when questioned. Witnesses have indicated that they will be making complaints to the PSA about Nightsafe Security Services Ltd and their sister company Active Security Management Ltd, a company that Horgan-Skehan claims that she also works for, according to her Facebook page.

THREATS

It is further alleged that Horgan-Skehan when contacted by telephone by an individual who had been at the eviction attempt claimed that she has now resigned from the company and that G4S Security has “taken over and that there would be 40 people sent from G4S to take the house back”. No one from G4S turned up at the site.

On Saturday evening, in a telephone call with an individual who was on scene, Vina Horgan-Skehan’s sister had made claimed that Horgan-Skehan was in hospital and that she was distressed and suicidal. The sister went on to claim that “everyone blocking the eviction would be held liable if Vina Horgan-Skehan was to commit suicide”.

She also claimed that “Gardaí have all of the names and that arrests would be made”. She went on to state that “the Sunday World was going to do a story on the individuals who were present at the scene”.

However, claims were made by eyewitnesses that Vina Horgan-Skehan was heard and seen to physically threaten a female bystander with actual bodily harm and that she (Horgan-Skehan) had allegedly shouted to the bystander that she would “dig the head off her”.

It was further noted and observed that Horgan-Skehan had used threatening language in a Facebook private message sent to one individual who had been at the scene and in which Horgan-Skehan was seen to have threatened an individual with words to the effect of “Get your facts right, the guards will be dealing with you” and “I have your address, you’ll be dealt with”.

It is alleged by eyewitnesses that Vina Horgan-Skehan took an active part in the eviction attempt as seen on the many videos circulating on social media. It was further alleged that Horgan-Skehan was seen back at the property later that night (Saturday) by witnesses who were still on scene.

The directors of Nightsafe Security Services Ltd and a sister company Active Security Management Ltd were contacted for a response. A man calling himself “Ian” refuted any allegations put to them in regard to their legality of their actions at the scene. He also refuted allegations made by Horgan-Skehan that G4S were now the new owners of Active Security Management Ltd. When it was pointed out that they were using unlicenced operatives in evictions, “Ian” refused to engage any further after an initial denial of same and ended the call.

Nightsafe Security Services Ltd/Active Security Management Ltd has failed to reply to emails sent to their office.

CONFUSION OVER COMPANIES AT THE SCENE

There was some confusion in the initial stages as to which security company or even how many security companies was involved. AOC Specialist Services of Ratoath, Co. Meath were contacted for clarification as to their role in the eviction. They have not responded to any telephone calls made to their company.

It should be noted that AOC Specialist Services acting on behalf of Bank of Ireland employed ex-detective Garda Michael Murphy at a previous attempt at an illegal eviction in Corofin County Clare some months back.

Murphy has now lodged an affidavit into the courts claiming that he was obstructed from carrying out his duty as agent for the bank and is looking for a committal order against an Anti-Eviction Taskforce member and the home owner Tommy Collins. This was the attempted eviction where the security men wore balaclavas and taped up the registrations of their cars in a misguided attempt to hide their identities.

Another company named for its part in the latest eviction was Dwellguard owned by John Murray and based in Ballincollig in County Cork. Dwellguard supplied and fitted the shuttering on the family home. Murray was not available for comment at the time of publication.

Sources have indicated that allegations are now being made that the some of the security personnel were being paid cash in hand as they are not employees of some of the companies named here. These same sources have indicated that they have bought the matter to the attention of the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Social Protection.

The Department of Social Protection now have opened an investigation into certain named individuals who were part of the security team.

NAME AND SHAME CAMPAIGN

Meanwhile, anti-eviction activists throughout the country have vowed to step up the campaign to publically name and shame companies and individuals actively involved in evictions anywhere in the country. In a chilling warning, a spokesman for the groups involved, stated that any companies or individuals who take part in any eviction attempt on a family home would be named and shamed not just on social media but in other more visible and public ways.

GARDAI ON SCENE

According to eyewitnesses, Gardaí only attended the scene after as they had received a report of an incident on Saturday but did not appear to get involved in any real effort to assist the security companies. Gardaí left the scene shortly thereafter and did not return.

Later on Saturday afternoon, family members, neighbours and friends peacefully removed the security companies occupying the premises and regained possession of the family home.

THE AUTHORITIES NEED TO GET TOUGH

In what is becoming glaringly obvious, security companies are using unregistered individuals while hoping not to get caught in the act. The Private Security Authority need to be seen to be strictly enforcing the law surrounding the misuse of licences or in many cases the enforcement of the law on security companies that use unlicenced people as appears to be the case in this story. It further appears and is alleged that criminals from other countries are routinely slipping through the vetting process and are obtaining licences using false personal details.

The security industry already has a bad name and it’s about to get a lot worse. This is a nightmare scenario for any law abiding security company trying to rise above the severely tarnished image presented by security companies who have a lot less regard for the law.

Banks must also be taken to task in regards to their liability in using unlicenced operators, and legal action needs to be taken against them accordingly for shirking their responsibility in the matter. It is now quite clear that the law is being flouted by some security companies and the banks jointly, and wholeheartedly supported by a very questionable judicial system operating on the Circuit Court level.

It seems incredulous that the security industry still has its cowboys even after the big clean up by the Private Security Authority. It would make sense for the law abiding security companies to push the cowboys out of the market and help mop up what is essentially an important industry mainly populated by decent people just looking to make a clean living.

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Family Home With Several Children In Clonlara Co Clare : Possession Recovered

by PEOPLE POWER AND ANTI- EVICTION TASK FORCE  AFTER HOUSE SHUTTERED UP

BY SECURITY FIRM EARLIER IN THE DAY

Congratulations To All Involved

Footage of the  events which took place on Friday Oct 14 can be found by clicking below and scrolling down to view several posts

Patrick Hannon

https://www.facebook.com/banjo.hannon?fref=ts

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Homeless at Increased Risk of Suicide-Official Report-Gerry Raleigh, Director of National Office of Suicide Prevention on RTE

Stop Evictions! Stop SUICIDES!

HEART-FELT APPEAL FROM KEN SMOLLEN-TIRELESS ANTI-EVICTION CAMPAIGNER

I was talking to Paddy Healy on the phone earlier today. Paddy works tirelessly for his brother, Independent TD for Tipperary Seamus Healy. Both of these men are the only people who work within the confines of Leinster House and who are actively calling on the Government to declare an Official Housing Emergency… However, they are alone and receive little or NO support (you can’t be upsetting the markets).
It’s unfortunate that in order to make the other removed from reality elites sit up and take notice, that it’s now becoming necessary that members of some family in Ireland do the unbelievable brave thing of being willing to speak about a family member who has taken their own life as a result of being in mortgage distress and facing the horrifying thought of facing one of the EVICTION Courts.
 
The death of homeless man Jonathan Corrie close to The Dail made the elites take notice of the homelessness crisis.
The elites are not interested in attending any of the EVICTION Courts, and are so removed from reality to think they know what it’s like for people in this situation as all of them spout on about distressed mortgage holders approaching them in the comfort of their constituency offices.
NONE OF THEM have the faintest idea what so many people are enduring on a daily basis…
I’m not expecting anyone to come forward to tell their own story about a family member taking their own lives as a result of this very hidden crisis, but it’s a terrible indictment on our uncaring TD’s that I should even have to ask… and all I can do is hope that someone is brave enough to do so!

Ministers John Halligan and Finian McGrath ,Shane Ross, Boxer Moran, Sean Canney of the Independent Alliance must Force Government to HALT ALL EVICTIONS NOW

EVICTION RELATED SUICIDES CONTINUE

Ken Smollen’s post on Facebook

It has just been confirmed to me in the last few minutes that the father of a number of young children who was due to appear before one of the EVICTION Courts this week has sadly taken his own life. Out of respect for his family I will not be naming the location. Suffice to say that our uncaring TD’s have more blood on their hands as they DO HAVE the power to put a stop to the never ending nightmare that’s being experienced by thousands of innocent victims of the bailed out banks and vulture funds!…
May he Rest in Peace-Ken Smollen

GOVERNMENT, FF, LAB, INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE ARE RESPONSIBLE

But Sinn Féin and Independents for Change Must Share Some of the Blame

ONLY Ruth Coppinger Dissented from Flawed Recommendation

The Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessnes recommended that there be a pause in eviction proceedings until new debt resolution procedures were in place

· “Subject to advice of the Attorney General, the Government should introduce legislation for a moratorium on home repossessions until such time as the Government’s proposals are in place.”     AND

“The Government should urgently seek flexibility from the European Commission on the application of the EU fiscal rules to the financing of social housing”

Surprise! Surprise! There is no halt to evictions (even on a temporary basis) in Minister Coveney’s housing plan. Unfortunately Sinn Féin and Independents 4 Change(Mick Wallace, Maureen O’Sullivan) went along with this easily rejected recommendation. (The same attorney general had advised Alan Kelly against it)

Shamefully, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has written a letter to EU seeking flexibility under the Fiscal Treaty  which would give permission to Ireland to borrow money to build social housing for the Irish People! This permission has not been given.

Government has also consulted its own the Attorney General, Labour’s M. Whelan but evictions have continued.

Hence, the government can claim to have complied with two key recommendations of the Committee. But the evictions and the suicides continue.

The  anger at the continued evictions is more than justified. However, my bother Seamus Healy TD(Tipperary) has repeatedly called in the Dáil for the formal declaration of a housing emergency and a total halt to evictions. The formal declaration of a housing emergency is required to overcome the qualified protection of the private property of banks and landlords in the constitution.

But Government,itself, continues to evict people through banks owned by state (AIB, PTSB, EBS)

FG, FF, Lab, Ind. Alliance and, Unbelievably, Independents for Change and Sinn Féin put those facing Repossession in the Hands of The Attorney General who previously advised that any significant interference with the private property of Banks and/or landlords  was a violation of Constitution!!! In addition the recommended moratorium on evictions is only for a few months!!!!!

(see Evidence of Alan Kelly to the Commission on Constitutional Obstacles to Solving The Housing Crisis further down)

Recommendation on Evictions

· “Subject to advice of the Attorney General, the Government should introduce legislation for a moratorium on home repossessions until such time as the Government’s proposals are in place.”

Commission Fails to recommend a formal declaration of a housing emergency by Government!!!!! This will enable banks an landlords to continue evictions despite the spin in the Commission Report

Even the Minority Report by Ruth Coppinger TD, Socialist Party, fails to call for the formal declaration of a housing emergency by the Dáil

Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessnes-Majority Report

http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/committees/32housingandhomelessness/Final-Report-.pdf

MINORITY REPORT

http://antiausterityalliance.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Housing-doc-2.pdf

The Minority Report makes some very good points, particularly pointing out that the FISCAL TREATY must be broken to enable the state to invest in housing. But the advocacy of a referendum to change the constitution on property rights and the right to a home, however laudable, is not an emergency measure. It is no substitute for the immediate formal declaration of a national housing emergency by government to enable legal interference with property rights in order to implement emergency measures including a halt to eviction proceedings.

The Majority Report fails to call for breaking of  the FISCAL TREATY in order for the state to build adequate numbers of social houses. Not alone does it put those facing repossession in the hands of the Attorney General(a member of the government), Chair Curran(FF) has explained that the moratorium on evictions would only be a short term measure for a few months. It would last until government put in place the government’s (inadequate) measures on debt resolution.

To make things worse, The Fianna Fail Finance Spokesperson, Deputy Michael McGrath says in the Irish Examiner(18/06/2016) says that the recommendation to pause repossessions is unworkable and SOMETIMES KEEPING THE HOUSE IS NOT THE BEST ANSWER. “In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr McGrath said losing the home and starting again may be best for some people who can no longer afford to remain where they are.”–Michael McGrath TD

Independents4Change was represented on the Commission by Deputies Mick Wallace and  Maureen O’Sullivan. Following the failure of I4C to support an amendment strengthening the Workers Rights Bill put down by AAA-PBP, its complete acceptance of the grossly deficient report is leading to queriess as to where it is headed politically.

Sinn Féin took the same position as I4C. A piece by Eoin ÓBroin SF (member of the Commission) in the Irish Independent 18/06/2016 points to no deficiencies in the report and is quite complimentary of its FF and FG members.  http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/cowen-detached-durkan-rambled-but-report-shows-tds-agree-cure-34812099.html

The acceptance of the Fiscal Treaty by Sinn Féin has a particular significance. The Treaty , in effect,removes the fundamental right of the government to provide housing for all citizens. How far has Sinn Féin travelled since Coimhín Ó Caolain TD opposed the Treaty in the Dáil on the grounds that “it flies in the face of the 1916 Proclamation” in its undermining of Irish sovereignty?

Even after FF through Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath pulled the rug on the moratorium on evictions recommendation , Eoin O’Broin (SF) wrote in an opinion piece in Sunday Business Post 19/06/2016
“The Committee also called on the government to urgently request flexibility
from the European Commission on the application of fiscal rules for investment
in tackling the crisis”——-
“the strength of the Report lies in the fact that all but one of our 14 members
signed up to the final recommendations.
There is now strong support across the political spectrum for greater state
involvement in the provision of social housing, the regulation of the private
rental sector and targeted measures to meet the housing needs of those most
neglected by past policies”

Coming from a professed republican, the request for permission from the EU to put roofs over the heads of the Irish people is very strange. The notion of FF, FG who have always favoured the rich, genuinely working to solve the crisis is at best naive.

Alan Kelly  TD (Labour) gave evidence to the Commission  on constitutional obstacles to solving the housing crisis. (The protection of private property in the constitution is not absolute-it is subject to right of government to provide for the common good). Kelly was effectively quoting the Attorney General who continues in the new government. It is important to note that Brendan Howlin(Labour) who was also  a minister in the outgoing government claimed to have overcome the constitutional obstacle to confiscating private property in pensions in the FEMPI ACT by a formal declaration of a Financial Emergency by Government and the laying of a document certifying continuation of the Financial Emergency every year.

My conclusion from the evidence of Alan Kelly (below) is that the outgoing FG-Lab government was not prepared to formally declare a national housing emergency and to lay the documents before the Oireachtas. FG-Lab put the rights of property before the common good. It continued evictions, including evictions by banks it owns.

Evidence to Commission by Alan Kelly (Lab) TD- former Minister for Housing

 “Mr Alan Kelly, former Minister, stated that legal advice on Article 43 had stopped him from introducing a more powerful vacant site levy, which would have imposed a fee on developers who refused to build on unused land. He said that it had also stopped legislation preventing keeping houses vacant and laws that would protect tenants from so-called vulture funds, which invest in undervalued properties and then profit from selling them: “I was not hampered by political or financial obstacles. I was blocked by the Constitution. (Advice to Sitting Ministers either comes directly from the Attorney General or is commissioned by the Attorney General-PH). Kelly continued: From the time it is taking to introduce the Vacant Site Levy in order to tackle land hoarding, to protecting tenants from eviction in circumstances where their landlord wishes to sell the property, and many other issues, I was repeatedly blocked from making provision for what I believed was the common good by the strength by which property rights are protected under Article 43 of the Constitution. I believe that we need to honestly re-examine the balance between the protected and legitimate property rights of individuals, as property owners, and the wider needs and common good of society, including housing needs. As a society we need to reflect on the desired impact of the constitution here. I believe that addressing these issues raises politically and socially important issues which will have to be debated over the coming years.”

Letter To All Members of  Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness-Paddy Healy   Wed 15/06/2016

A Cháirde,

I am an activist in a campaign against eviction of homeowners and tenants in the context of a the national housing emergency  as recently affirmed by Minister Coveney.

Some of those who are having their homes being repossessed  are being evicted by the government which is the owner of a number of banks including AIB and PTSB

I believe it would be outrageous for any member of the Oireachtas Committee  to agree to the issue of  recommendations  on housing and homeless ness which did not call for an immediate halt to all evictions.

In the case of Banks in majority state ownership no legislation or constitutional change is required. The government can simply issue an instruction to the banks it owns. If the bank refuses to comply the Minister can call a special general meeting of shareholders in order to put  in place directors who will carry out the instructions of the owners. The Framework Agreement between Government and Banks is a purely informal, non-legally binding  arrangement.

But, of  course, all evictions should be banned in this emergency. This would require emergency legislation which could be completed in one day.

It would also be important for government to formally declare a housing emergency and to lay a document before both houses of the Oireachtas certifying that the emergency exist. This would prevent landlords and banks blocking the implementation of the legislation by attempting to invoke the constitutional protection of private property which is limited by the necessity to provide for “the common good”.

I and my allies will hold each member of the Oireachtas Committee responsible for future evictions who assents to recommendations  of the Committee which do not include the emergency prohibition of all evictions  until the housing and homelessness crisis has been resolved.

Government is about to lay a document before both houses by June 30 which will certify that a Financial Emergency continues to exist. This, it believes is necessary in order to protect confiscation of private property in public service  pensions from constitutional challenge.

Yours sincerely

Paddy Healy

88 Griffith Court, Fairview, Dublin 3

086-4183732

PS  I was very disappointed by the decision of the Committee not to invite The Hub Ireland and Mr Ken Smollen to address you

Your Recommendations will be discussed at a public conference of anti-eviction activist to be held in Killeshin Hotel Portlaoise before the end of this month-PH

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PRESIDENT HIGGINS TELLS GOVERNMENT:

IGNORE FISCAL TREATY! BORROW NOW TO BUILD HOUSES AND TO INVEST IN HEALTH AND EDUCATION

Well Done President Higgins!!

“He (President Higgins) insists that seeking access for all to housing, health and education – what he calls “values for decent living” – are not “wild, Bolshevik ideas”.

And at a time of low interest rates, there is opportunity to invest in these services. Better to spend now when money is cheap, he appears to suggest, than be overly concerned with sticking to EU fiscal rules.”–Paul Melia Irish Independent   17/09/2016

Instead of borrowing the money to build the houses, Taoiseach ENDA KENNY HAS WRITTEN TO THE EU SEEKING PERMISSION! IRISH SOVEREIGNTY-HOW ARE YOU!!!

Seamus Healy TD has repeatedly told the government in the Dáil: STOP THE EVICTIONS: Borrow the money immediately to build the houses and rescue the homeless! Don’t ask the EU. TELL the EU that the government is doing it, he said.

Italy, Spain, Portugal and other countries are ignoring the Fiscal Treaty when it suits them. We should do the same!

AS THE BUDGET APPROACHES, GOVERNMENT SHOULD TAKE THE ADVICE OF PRESIDENT HIGGINS

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From Martina Doyle and the HUB-IRELAND    PHONE NO    01-5349118

A Sheriff has NO AUTHORITY to take a property

Even a receiver cannot trespass on your property

If they do, and you are fearful, call the Gardai, and tell them that you fear for your safety.
Quote Section of the Section 13(1) of 1 of the Criminal Public Justice Act, and ask the “Receiver/trespasser” to leave.
If they refuse, they are committing a criminal offence which can incur hefty fine or a prison sentence.
Stay in your homes. Fight the banks. We will help you. We are FREE

ANOTHER HUGE TAX GIVEAWAY BY GOVERNMENT AND Michael “Tommy Cooper” Noonan

How did the Government shaft mortgage holders and taxpayers in one fell swoop?

The State may well have missed out on huge tax profits through its sale of distressed home loans

Stephen Donnelly

Sunday Independent  Published 10/07/2016 | 02:30

Questions to answer: Finance Minister Michael Noonan – the Government refused to let people bid on their own distressed mortgages Photo: Tony Gavin

The Irish Government could be complicit in wholesale tax avoidance by foreign investment firms, which are generating huge profits in Ireland off the backs of Irish mortgage holders.

Sarah and Dominic (not their real names) live in Kilkenny with their two children. They bought their home in 2007.

The shop Sarah worked in closed during the recession – she lost her job and they started to fall behind on their mortgage payments.

They’re getting back on their feet now, but with lower wages, they’re struggling to make full payments. Their mortgage was with Irish Nationwide, which was nationalised, so it ended up in state ownership, along with about 13,000 other mortgages.

Two years ago, the Government sold these mortgages at big discounts, mainly to US investment funds. The Government refused to let individual mortgage holders bid on their mortgages. Sarah and Dominic’s mortgage was bundled with about 1,400 others and sold to Mars Capital. According to finance minister Michael Noonan, this was done with “funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management”.

Oaktree is a very large US-based distressed-debt firm that has bought up many of the mortgages sold by the Government.

Until recently, we didn’t know how big the discounts were that the State was selling people’s mortgages at. Mars Capital’s newly filed 2015 accounts show they paid 42 cent in the euro.

Sarah and Dominic’s mortgage was about €350,000, so Mars Capital got it for about €140,000 – an amount the couple could have afforded. Instead, they still owe the full €350,000 to Mars Capital and face the prospect of eviction.

It gets better (or worse if you are Sarah and Dominic, or an Irish taxpayer). Mars bought these 1,400 mortgages for €155m. About half of this was financed by a loan from Citibank, with the remaining €80m being, presumably, the “funds managed by” Oaktree Capital. The 2015 accounts of Mars Capital forecast that this €80m investment will harvest almost €400m (net of the Citibank loan) in mortgage interest and principal repayments (so that’s the €80m back, plus almost €320m extra, less administration costs). And this is just Mars Capital’s first estimate. It assumes a level of non-payment on the mortgages they bought. But as the Irish economy recovers and payment rates improve, profits could become much higher.

In May 2014, Ireland was borrowing 10-year money at 2pc. Mars Capital’s accounts show them earning 14pc on their €80m, just taking into account mortgage interest payments, from the likes of Sarah and Dominic. Why sell an asset yielding 14pc when your cost of funds is 2pc? The Irish State could have given every one of those Irish mortgage holders a 60pc discount on their loan and still have made 14pc per annum in repayments. Wasn’t Nama set up to do this?

However, it gets even better (and definitely worse, if you are an Irish taxpayer). The “funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management” seem to be accounted for in Mars Capital as “notes”.

Essentially, the €80m was loaned to Mars Capital, and Mars must pay it back, plus interest. The interest on these notes is set at “10pc + variable residual”.

In other words, the interest payable on the €80m can be hiked to soak up any, and all, profit Mars Capital makes.

The accounts of Mars Capital clarify that these notes will suck nearly all of the profits (interest and capital) from the company in excess of the Citibank loan. The 2015 accounts claim exactly €1,000 as taxable profit, while paying millions in interest on the notes.

This tax-management structure is similar to what is used by some multinationals based in Ireland. Often, such notes are registered in an offshore zero-tax location such as the Cayman Islands, where their “note interest” payments are made and accumulate tax-free, and get lent back to the parent as needed. As such, the profits are taxed neither in Ireland, nor in the US.

Irish accounting and legal firms provide the expertise to the multinationals to help them minimise their tax obligations. So what? Sure aren’t they providing jobs here? Well yes, they are.

But if that same expertise is now being used to help foreign investment firms suck huge profits out of Ireland without paying tax on them, then we’re all worse off.

We don’t know where are the loan notes of Mars Capital located. We do know, from Oaktree’s US SEC annual filings, that many of their funds linked with European distressed debt (ie Sarah and Dominic’s mortgage), are listed in the Cayman Islands.

So, if the Mars Capital notes happen to have been issued by an Oaktree Capital fund located in the Caymans (and we have no evidence that they are), and if the interest on the notes is adjusted in a way that leaves Mars Capital with very little taxable profit (say the €1,000 filed for 2015), then not only will the State have missed the opportunity to retain hundreds of millions of euro of value (and maybe spare Sarah and Dominic’s family the threat of eviction), it would also be the case that none of the profits will be taxed in Ireland.

To be clear – tax avoidance is, by definition, legal (as opposed to tax evasion, which is illegal). There is no suggestion that Mars Capital, or Oaktree Capital, have done, or are doing, anything illegal. They are clever investors who saw an opportunity and took it – if they are structuring their investments to minimise tax obligations, then they are acting rationally. The Irish Government, however, is not.

If very little tax ends up being paid in Ireland on the Mars Capital deal, the tax leakage could reach well over €50m. And this is a very small deal in the scheme of things – if other investment firms have structured their affairs to avoid paying taxes here, the total missed tax take will be in the hundreds of millions, conservatively.

Why did the Government not seek assurances from all foreign bidders that their structures would ensure they pay fair Irish tax on their Irish-generated profits? If some bidders organised themselves to move their profits offshore, did the Irish Government know? Did the investment firms seeks assurances from the Government that any proposed off-shoring of profits would be acceptable? Just how complicit is the Government in what could be large-scale tax avoidance on profits earned off the backs of ordinary families trying to recover from the collapse?

Best little country to do business in? I doubt Sarah and Dominic would agree. Neither would those using our underfunded public services and infrastructure.


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RENT OF HOUSES ROCKETTING

FISCAL TREATY RESTRICTIONS ON GOVERNMENT SPENDING AND BORROWING IS THE CAUSE

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has written a letter to EU seeking permission to borrow money to house our people!!!

THe IRISH PEOPLE must establish ITS OWN SOVEREIGNTY

A 32-county assembly wielding People’s Power is The Answer

At the end of 2015, there were 139,359 or almost 140,000 people on local authority waiting lists for housing. This is because virtually no local authority houses have been built for years. Now due to the restrictions of the FISCAL TREATY, Ireland is not allowed to borrow money to build social houses. This is despite the fact that governments can now borrow money ay rock bottom rates. Enda has written a letter to EU seeking permission to borrow money to house our people. Irish People have been reduced by FF,Fg,Lab, Greens to the staus of beggars.

Now over 140,000 people have to seek private rented accomodation to get a dwelling place!

Thousands of distressed mortgage holders are being driven from their homes each year. They too must seek rented accomodation.

Massive and growing demand-No additional supply!!!This is driving the cost of rented accomodation through the roof. The crisis is rendered even more acute when third level colleges re-open.

The only answer is for The Irish People to establish its own sovereignty

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Stay in your homes-HELP IS FREE!

FROM Martina DOYLE  THE HUB-IRELAND ON Facebook

PHONE NO    01-5349118

#�thehubirelandrepealtheevictionbill�
Don’t suffer in silence.
There is help in hand.
It is FREE.
Stay in your homes.
If anybody tries to charge in our name, they are scamming you.
Get a receipt…
Please share as you never know who might need our help.
Thank you.

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Seamus Healy TD Supports the Call by THE HUB-IRELAND to Repeal the Land and Conveyancing Act, 2013

Seamus voted against The Land And Conveyancing  Act (2013)

Seamus Healy repeatedly Called for a Halt to Evictions and the Declaration of a Housing Emergencyin the Dáil

Irish Times:Minister Noonan Replies to Seamus Healy on Evictions

Minister says no political interference in bank decision, but progress being made

Irish Times  Thu, Jan 14, 2016

Marie O’Halloran

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: “I appreciate that it’s very hard on people. I appreciate people have lost their jobs and I appreciate how upset people are.”

Banks have been dealing with the issue of home repossessions “reasonably well”, according to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan.

He said “this idea of tens of thousands of houses being repossessed is just not correct”.

Mr Noonan said “I appreciate that it’s very hard on people. I appreciate people have lost their jobs and I appreciate the concerns and I appreciate how upset people are.

“But in a very extreme situation it’s been handled reasonably well by the banks.”

He was responding to Independent TD Séamus Healy who asked Mr Noonan, as the majority shareholder in AIB and its subsidiary EBS as well as the majority shareholder in Permanent TSB, “to call a meeting of the boards of the banks and to instruct them “not to repossess family homes”.

He said that if the bank directors would not agree to that then “sack those members. You have the power to do that as majority shareholder.

“There are thousands of families in this country, irrespective of what you say Minister, facing homelessness by these banks, of which the Government is a majority shareholder.”

Mr Noonan said a relationship framework had been agreed by the Government’s predecessors in office that “the political side will not interfere in commercial decisions” and they did not want to politicise the banks.

“It would be a very sad day for the country if you were looking for a loan and your first port of call had to be your local TD rather than the bank manager.”

He said 207 houses were repossessed on foot of court order and “that is not the 10s of thousands of houses that’s sometimes recited on the commentary on this”.

He said 121,000 mortgages on private dwellings had been restructured and the success rate was 86.6 per cent.

“So progressively the problem is being solved.”

Mr Noonan said statistics from the Central Bank showed that in the third quarter of 2015 (July, August and September) legal proceedings were issued in 1,687 cases of private mortgages.

“There were 798 cases where court proceedings concluded but arrears remained outstanding and the court granted a repossession order in 329 cases.

A total of 422 properties were taken into possession by lenders during the quarter and 215 were voluntary.

“It’s a very small amount to go through the system and since the changes were made by the Minister for Justice and that the money and Budgeting Advice Service are assisting people before the courts that will diminish even further,” Mr Noonan added.

 

Government Evicts Families—-Statement by Seamus Healy TD     Jan 18 2016

This government is continuing to evict families from their homes.

In the Dáil last Thursday, I appealed to Minister Michael Noonan to order the banks he owns to withdraw repossession proceedings in light of the extreme housing emergency which exists.

The Minister refused.  This means that the government has given the green light to the banks they own, to continue to evict families.

Court Orders for repossession of 47 primary residences were granted at Clonmel and Nenagh Circuit Courts in the first 3 quarters of 2015. A further 8 buy-to-lets which also house families were also repossessed. Banks are now seeking a further 97 repossession orders for dwellings in Tipp, of which 32 are being sought by AIB, EBS and Permanent TSB which are owned by the Government through Michael Noonan (FG) Minister for Finance

Minister Noonan claimed that the issue was being reasonably handled by the banks. Totally misrepresenting the situation, Mr Noonan quoted the 208 orders for repossessions for the whole country for Quarter 3,2015 as representative of the scale of the problem. COURTS ONLY SIT FOR 1 OF THE 3 MONTHS IN QUARTER 3!! The Court Service Figures for the whole country for Quarters 1 and 2 are 586 and 314 respectively.

The proposed Eviction of 97 Tipperary Families Must Be Stopped Now!

 

Senior Minister Alan Kelly (Lab) and Minister of State Hayes(FG) must now intervene at Cabinet to have a Housing Emergency Declared and all repossession applications withdrawn.

In particular they must force Minister Noonan to withdraw the repossession applications by the banks he owns.

Land and Conveyancing Act 2013

Second Stage

Níl

Question declared carried.

Voting was also as above on the Report and Final Stage of the Land and Conveyancing Bill (2013)
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 3,041 families up for eviction in court in this month of July

A grand total of 3,041 families up for eviction in court this month of July. Ignoring the mortgage arrears crisis is fueling homelessness at a horrifying scale. I am tired contacting all the people who are paid to care. What else can we do?—Martina Doyle, The Hub-Ireland

Limerick 146 and 5.

Dundalk 55 and 52.

Tullamore 19 and 71.

Waterford 34 and 18 and 20 and 70 .

Dublin 57 and 4 and 4 and 55 and 1 and 50 and 59 and 5 and 10 and 2 and 5 and 54 and 8 and 57 and 62 and 2.

Cork 72 and 98 and 32 and 87 and 20 and 5 and 59.

Monaghan 102.

Trim 75 and 80 and 76.

Carrick on Shannon 35.

Bray 125.

Castlebar 78.

Portlaoise 40 and 32.

Naas 9 and 71 and 101 and 16.

Letterkenny 89.

Cavan 39 and 100.

Wexford 43 and 60.

Kilkenny 33 and 40.

Sligo 30.

Roscommon 75.

Ennis 84.

Clonmel 46.

Nenagh 58.

Carlow 41.

Tralee 64.

A grand total of 3,041 families up for eviction, one month = July.

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John McManus Business Editor Irish Times: 23/07/2016

Housing plan looks very like a bailout for big builders

It’s not that the Government can’t bring down house prices, more that they don’t want to

Irish Times  Sunday, July 24, 2016, 11:18

When it comes to sorting out the housing crisis, the Government really has two choices. They can try to bring down the price of houses to a level people can afford or they can help people buy houses at their current unaffordable prices.

Affordability is hard to define but for Irish purposes it equates to the limit put by the Central Bank on how much a bank can lend you, which is 3½ times your gross income. For two people on the average wage, this is about €245,000. This is not a million miles away from the average house price in most places other than south Dublin, but if you are a single-income or low-income family, you are not buying a house any time soon.

The Government would argue they have done a bit of both with the action plan for housing and homelessness published this week, but the true picture will not be clearer until the details of the measures to help first-time buyers and house builders are unveiled at budget time. Of the two options, bringing down house prices is by far the hardest one. Assuming you could actually come up with a way of doing it that did not borrow from the Khmer Rouge handbook, it would still be deeply, deeply unpopular.

The losers would include pretty much everybody who has a house. People would see their positive equity eroded or their negative equity increased. The precarious buy-to-let sector would be decimated. Builders and developers would be ruined and the banks would be bust once again.

Strange though it may seem, a policy that underpins high house prices is the rational political choice in a representative democracy. Consequently, you should not expect the measures announced this week to bring down the price of houses to any significant degree. If you are in any doubt, you should know that one of the bigger developers, Cairn Homes, has welcomed the plan. Turkeys don’t vote for certain Christian winter festivals.

Downward pressure

It’s not that the Government couldn’t bring down the price of houses. The main levers at their disposal are social housing and rent controls. These are viable long- term solutions to home ownership and if they are provided in sufficient quantities at the right price, they exert downward pressure on prices.

But the targets for social housing set out in the plan will not put a tooth in the problem. The plan calls for the construction of 125,000 houses by 2021, of which only one in five or fewer will be social housing built by the Government.

The rest will presumably be provided by the private sector, and we can take it as read that they don’t plan selling these houses for any less than they are selling them at the moment . They argue they are not even making money at current prices.

If prices are not coming down and wages are not going up and the Central Bank won’t let banks lend people more than they can afford, you get the sort of stalemate that prevails in the Irish market. The Government, to its credit, is trying to solve the problem by providing a limited amount of cheap housing but the bulk of its effort seems to be going into subsidising the building industry either directly or indirectly.

The measures to be announced in the budget in October are expected to include a €10,000 package for first-time buyers and other measures to increase the profitability of house-building. At best, this will allow more people to buy houses at current prices and also allow more builders to build profitably at current prices. At worst, it will trigger a jump in prices.

No costing has been put on this part of the plan but if, for argument’s sake, you assumed that half of the buyers of the 100,000 houses that will be built by the private sector got the money, it would be €500 million over five years.

It represents a massive subsidy for an industry that is fundamentally uncompetitive because it has overpaid for land and is now sitting on sites, refusing to develop and playing chicken with the Government. Those who worship market forces would argue these builders should all be made go bust and the price of land should drop, allowing profitable house-building by new entrants. In a socialist version of this fantasy, the State would then spend €500 million building 200,000 council houses.

It doesn’t really matter because neither of these things are going to happen. It may not be the Government’s intention but the housing plan looks like a massive State bailout for an industry that is being protected from the consequences of its mistakes. Sound familiar?

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Eviction Proceedings-No Pause in Government Action Plan On Housing and Homelessness

FALSE PROMISE TO FIRST TIME BUYERS! Bonanza for Developers!

Now we Know why the Oireachtas Committee refused to invite Ken Smollen and THE HUB-IRELAND to address it!

“Plan” is just a pre-election gimmick

The Oireachtas Committee recommended that there be a pause in eviction proceedings until new debt resolution procedures were in place

· “Subject to advice of the Attorney General, the Government should introduce legislation for a moratorium on home repossessions until such time as the Government’s proposals are in place.”

Surprise! Surprise! There is no halt to evictions (even on a temporary basis) in Coveney’s plan. Unfortunately Sinn Féin and Independents 4 Change(Mick Wallace, Maureen O’Sullivan) went along with this easily rejected recommendation. (The same attorney general had advised Alan Kelly against it)

But now government promises  to introduce more favourable resolution procedures for distressed mortgages have been seriously “watered down”

The number of people presenting as homeless has doubled in the last 12 moths

Opposition members of the Oireachtas Committee say the Coveney Plan for building  social houses contains half the investment recommended by the committee.

The EU have been resisting informal government requests to allow money to be borrowed  by Ireland to build social houses despite the restrictions of the Fiscal Treaty for months..

NOW Taoiseach Kenny is going to WRITE A LETTER to the EU asking that Ireland be allowed to borrow money to house Irish people? (Decisive action that!!!)-Irish sovereignty how are you?

Eoin O’Broin (SF) wrote in an opinion piece in Sunday Business Post 19/06/2016
“The Committee also called on the government to urgently request flexibility
from the European Commission on the application of fiscal rules for investment
in tackling the crisis”——-

The Committee should, of course. have recommended that the government TELL THE EU THAT IRELAND WOULD BE BORROWING THE MONEY TO HOUSE IRISH PEOPLE IN THIS EMERGENCY, as advocated by Seamus HealY TD.

Instead Sinn Féin and Independents 4 Change joined  FF and FG in a shamefully compliant recommendation in the frame work of the Fiscal Treaty

BONANZA FOR PRIVATE DEVELOPERS-FALSE PROMISE TO FIRST TIME BUYERS

Before any extra houses are built, financial supports will be given to first time buyers in the budget next  October (and backdated to to-day) “to help  them” to purchase houses! But there will be no freeze on house prices! In the context of miniscule supply this cannot fail to raise the price of houses. This will be of no benefit to first time buyers but will provide a bonanza for developers. Others moving jobs will also have to pay the higher prices!

Developers will also be given publicly owned land at cheap leasing rates on which to build private houses.

IRISH HOUSING NETWORK-“In effect, it looks like this will mean leasing public land to private developers who will decide whats affordable. Without secure rent controls and more public housing this will leave people as vulnerable as they are now, with evictions and rent hikes commonplace as the markets decide people’s future for them. This hasn’t worked before and it wont work now.”

According to Minister Coveney these measures will”fix the housing market”!

NO Housing Emergency Formally Declared

Despite verbal recognition of “a national housing emergency” by Minister Coveney earlier this year, no formal declaration of a housing emergency will be laid before the Oireachtas.

Such a declaration would enable the public good to out-weigh the right to private property in accordance with the Irish Constitution. Former Minister Howlin explained to the Dáil that annual certification of a financial emergency was necessary to enable continued confiscation of private property in pensions. Minister Donoghue has done this recently

The absence of such a formal declaration could  enable banks an landlords to continue evictions even if the government ordered a pause.

Also, it is at least possible that private owners (including vulture funds) will be able to block even some of the inadequate improvements contained in the Action Plan.

My DIT colleage, Dr Lorcan Sirr ( Faculty of the Built Environment) has pointed out that thousands of dwelling houses are becoming obsolescent each year, thus reducing the number of houses available for habitation.  Government or local authorities are unable to intervene unless the building becomes a physical danger to the public. No account is taken of these obsolescences in the government targets for housing provision.

The absence of the formal declaration of a housing emergency enables the owners to resist any interference with their private property no matter how outrageous their disregard for the common good!

Misleading Government Spin

“People Laughed at Richard Bruton when he said he would create 100,000 jobs but he did it.  Simon Coveney will drive the housing plan in the same way”-Brian Hayes MEP(FG) on Today with Sean O’Rourke(RTE) 22/07/2016

In fact the government were cutting public service jobs while jobs increased in private sector. These private sector jobs were created despite the government austerity policy due to favourable external circumstances-weak euro, cheap oil, strong demand for multi-national exports produced in Ireland. These circumstances are already changing rapidly and  a new world recession will completely reverse them.

But government politicians never !miss an opportunity to reinforce a misleading story!

CONCLUSION

Like many previous Plans and Reports this ACTION PLAN is bound to fail

I believe that the government ACTION PLAN is a combination of a pre-election gimmick and a bonanza for private developers.

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FINAL WARNING TO GOVERNMENT-HALT EVICTION PROCEEDINGS NOW!

-KEN SMOLLEN

Next Saturday 25th June, the ‘Standing Together’ meeting at 1.30 pm in The Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise can see real progress being made in our fight against the bailed out banks and the vulture funds who have engaged in a hidden onslaught on thousands of decent, hardworking citizens in our country and their families. There can be no doubt that in years to come there will be an inquiry into how and why 3 successive Governments not only allowed the terrorising of so many of their own people but actually gave this great injustice their full support. Such an inquiry will undoubtedly lead to proper justice being meted out to those directly responsible and also to anyone who helped facilitate this wrong doing!

For real progress to be made it is imperative that all genuine people, groups, political parties and other determined organisations must work together. Any division in this very justified campaign will not only please the very many uncaring TD’s in Leinster House; it will also lead to failure to achieve our ultimate aim. That aim should be to achieve fairness for our people and a fair and sustainable solution to the mortgage distress crisis where families should no longer have to go without some of the basic necessities of life in order to keep a roof over their heads!

There can be no doubt that many of the people who will attend on Saturday will be living through this ongoing nightmare every day. Others attending will simply be aware of the crisis and see the urgent necessity for a resolution to be found. We can also be reasonably certain that a number of politicians will also attend, with most if not all of them being fully supportive of our unified campaign.

It is for that reason that I urge anyone who intends to be there on Saturday NOT to bring banners of any kind, and NOT to bring coffins or coffin lids with slogans written on them. This is NOT a protest meeting. IT IS a meeting where we must give the Government a final warning or an ultimatum that they must force the banks who operate within this jurisdiction to find a fair and sustainable solution for all mortgage holders, and while that solution is being sought, that ALL Eviction proceedings in the courts throughout Ireland be halted. We cannot afford to give them or any of the media who will be present reason to see us as just a group of disorganised protesters. We MUST be seen as reasonable people demanding a reasonable resolution to a hidden and growing humanitarian crisis that affects probably well over ONE MILLION people in our country!

I have requested that the reporter and camera crew from RTE not to film or show the faces of anyone in attendance unless they do so with the full permission of anyone concerned. They have agreed to this and before any filming or photo is taken of the attendance that it is done from the back of the room with a warning beforehand. This is to ensure that we protect the identities of everyone in attendance. I would therefore ask that anyone who intends to take photographs or film the proceedings to please adhere to the same principle as we must not cause distress of any kind to anyone in attendance.

It is highly likely that the uncaring TD’s in Government will call our bluff as many of them will be of the opinion that there is very little we can do if they fail to take the necessary and appropriate action in forcing the banks to engage fairly with their customers and if they also fail to ensure that there is a moratorium on the Eviction proceedings in the courts.

This is where I am of the opinion that their thinking is very flawed. I have no doubt that a properly organised group of people can have a huge effect on the workings of the courts, solicitors, MABS, the Personal Insolvency Service and other such Government backed organisations and all without the need for protest of any kind.

I have discussed such a plan with a handful of people and it will be openly discussed at Saturday’s meeting. I feel that it’s better that it not be revealed until then for the simple reason that we don’t want to show our hand before we need to. It will be simple to implement, does not involve protests, but will require a minimum of about 10 dedicated people in each county that takes part. I believe that together we can achieve great success by working closely with people who genuinely want a resolution to this desperate crisis.

On Saturday if we decide to implement this plan, it should be enough to cause a huge ripple effect that will cause major problems for the cosy cartel who obviously feel that they will always have the upper hand. The more people there are per county will result in our aim in those counties being achieved in a shorter period of time.

Even though Saturday’s meeting begins at 1.30pm, I and a number of other people will be in the Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise from 11.30am. It’s not for me to decide who the seriously committed people are who will lead the way. That decision must be made by each individual themselves.

We must have a proper plan in place in order to succeed. As the saying goes, ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!’

Finally, thanks everyone for your continued support. I hope to meet as many of you as possible before the meeting and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone else at the meeting which must commence at 1.30pm sharp.

Ken


INVITATION TO TDs AND SENATORS-KEN SMOLLEN

Dear Member of the Oireachtas,

I would like to personally invite you to our third meeting in The Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise on Saturday 25th June at 1.30pm concerning the desperately hidden mortgage distress crisis and the associated Courts repossession hearings crisis that currently exists in Ireland.

Unfortunately the number of people taking their own lives as a result of this hidden crisis continues to grow every day.  The vast majority of these deaths go unreported, meaning that the problem remains a very hidden and personal one for thousands of people in Ireland.

This is our 3rd such meeting and again all TD’s, Senators and MEP’s are being invited to attend.  We appreciate the fact that a number of TD’s and County Councillors attended the two previous meetings.  At the last meeting it was unanimously agreed that all TD’s should again be invited to attend on Saturday 25th June.

Your personal attendance at the meeting in Portlaoise would be very much appreciated, when this extremely hidden crisis must be openly discussed and REAL solutions found.

Since retiring from An Garda Siochana in 2012, I have been highlighting the mortgage distress/eviction crisis and working closely with many families in distress for the last few years.  It has been suggested by the many groups who volunteer their help and support to families in mortgage distress, that it’s possible there could be as many as 10 people or even more taking their own lives every single week.

I have attended many repossession courts throughout the country to offer my support to the families who are being summoned to the courts by the banks and many people have told me their own harrowing stories of hardship and desperation.  One case involved a family who were advised to go into bankruptcy.  They raised the €4,000 required for the process by selling the cooker and all of their furniture.  They then removed the radiators from the walls and sold them.  The family, including their 14 year old daughter are now living in a car in a secluded place close to Tullamore.

It is very clear that the Personal Insolvency arrangement and services such as MABS are not the solution and are very far from resolving this crisis.  This has led to a number of voluntary groups coming together in an attempt to offer genuine help to thousands of people who simply have nowhere else to go.

The meeting in Portlaoise is not a protest meeting.  It will be attended by many families who find themselves in this desperate situation and by others who are naturally concerned by the continuing assault on thousands of families by financial institutions.

We are attempting to find possible solutions to the crisis and your attendance at The Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise on Saturday 25th June at 1.30pm would be very much appreciated.

Kind Regards, Ken Smollen, 085 143 2898

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FG, FF, Lab, Ind. Alliance and, Unbelievably, Independents for Change and Sinn Féin put those facing Repossession in the Hands of The Attorney General who previously advised that any significant interference with the private property of Banks and/or landlords  was a violation of Constitution!!! In addition the recommended moratorium on evictions is only for a few months!!!!!

(see Evidence of Alan Kelly to the Commission on Constitutional Obstacles to Solving The Housing Crisis Below)

Recommendation on Evictions

· “Subject to advice of the Attorney General, the Government should introduce legislation for a moratorium on home repossessions until such time as the Government’s proposals are in place.”

Commission Fails to recommend a formal declaration of a housing emergency by Government!!!!! This will enable banks an landlords to continue evictions despite the spin in the Commission Report

Even the Minority Report by Ruth Coppinger TD, Socialist Party, fails to call for the formal declaration of a housing emergency by the Dáil

MINORITY REPORT

http://antiausterityalliance.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Housing-doc-2.pdf

The Minority Report makes some very good points, particularly pointing out that the FISCAL TREATY must be broken to enable the state to invest in housing. But the advocacy of a referendum to change the constitution on property rights and the right to a home, however laudable, is not an emergency measure. It is no substitute for the immediate formal declaration of a national housing emergency by government to enable legal interference with property rights in order to implement emergency measures including a halt to eviction proceedings.

The Majority Report fails to call for breaking of  the FISCAL TREATY in order for the state to build adequate numbers of social houses. Not alone does it put those facing repossession in the hands of the Attorney General(a member of the government), Chair Curran(FF) has explained that the moratorium on evictions would only be a short term measure for a few months. It would last until government put in place the government’s (inadequate) measures on debt resolution.

To make things worse, The Fianna Fail Finance Spokesperson, Deputy Michael McGrath says in the Irish Examiner(18/06/2016) says that the recommendation to pause repossessions is unworkable and SOMETIMES KEEPING THE HOUSE IS NOT THE BEST ANSWER. “In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr McGrath said losing the home and starting again may be best for some people who can no longer afford to remain where they are.”–Michael McGrath TD

Independents4Change was represented on the Commission by Deputies Mick Wallace and  Maureen O’Sullivan. Following the failure of I4C to support an amendment strengthening the Workers Rights Bill put down by AAA-PBP, its complete acceptance of the grossly deficient report is leading to queriess as to where it is headed politically.

Sinn Féin took the same position as I4C. A piece by Eoin ÓBroin SF (member of the Commission) in the Irish Independent 18/06/2016 points to no deficiencies in the report and is quite complimentary of its FF and FG members.  http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/cowen-detached-durkan-rambled-but-report-shows-tds-agree-cure-34812099.html

The acceptance of the Fiscal Treaty by Sinn Féin has a particular significance. The Treaty , in effect,removes the fundamental right of the government to provide housing for all citizens. How far has Sinn Féin travelled since Coimhín Ó Caolain TD opposed the Treaty in the Dáil on the grounds that “it flies in the face of the 1916 Proclamation” in its undermining of Irish sovereignty?

Even after FF through Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath pulled the rug on the moratorium on evictions recommendation , Eoin O’Broin (SF) wrote in an opinion piece in Sunday Business Post 19/06/2016
“The Committee also called on the government to urgently request flexibility
from the European Commission on the application of fiscal rules for investment
in tackling the crisis”——-
“the strength of the Report lies in the fact that all but one of our 14 members
signed up to the final recommendations.
There is now strong support across the political spectrum for greater state
involvement in the provision of social housing, the regulation of the private
rental sector and targeted measures to meet the housing needs of those most
neglected by past policies”

Coming from a professed republican, the request for permission from the EU to put roofs over the heads of the Irish people is very strange. The notion of FF, FG who have always favoured the rich, genuinely working to solve the crisis is at best naive.

Alan Kelly  TD (Labour) gave evidence to the Commission  on constitutional obstacles to solving the housing crisis. (The protection of private property in the constitution is not absolute-it is subject to right of government to provide for the common good). Kelly was effectively quoting the Attorney General who continues in the new government. It is important to note that Brendan Howlin(Labour) who was also  a minister in the outgoing government claimed to have overcome the constitutional obstacle to confiscating private property in pensions in the FEMPI ACT by a formal declaration of a Financial Emergency by Government and the laying of a document certifying continuation of the Financial Emergency every year.

My conclusion from the evidence of Alan Kelly (below) is that the outgoing FG-Lab government was not prepared to formally declare a national housing emergency and to lay the documents before the Oireachtas. FG-Lab put the rights of property before the common good. It continued evictions, including evictions by banks it owns.

Evidence to Commission by Alan Kelly (Lab) TD- former Minister for Housing

 “Mr Alan Kelly, former Minister, stated that legal advice on Article 43 had stopped him from introducing a more powerful vacant site levy, which would have imposed a fee on developers who refused to build on unused land. He said that it had also stopped legislation preventing keeping houses vacant and laws that would protect tenants from so-called vulture funds, which invest in undervalued properties and then profit from selling them: “I was not hampered by political or financial obstacles. I was blocked by the Constitution. (Advice to Sitting Ministers either comes directly from the Attorney General or is commissioned by the Attorney General-PH). Kelly continued: From the time it is taking to introduce the Vacant Site Levy in order to tackle land hoarding, to protecting tenants from eviction in circumstances where their landlord wishes to sell the property, and many other issues, I was repeatedly blocked from making provision for what I believed was the common good by the strength by which property rights are protected under Article 43 of the Constitution. I believe that we need to honestly re-examine the balance between the protected and legitimate property rights of individuals, as property owners, and the wider needs and common good of society, including housing needs. As a society we need to reflect on the desired impact of the constitution here. I believe that addressing these issues raises politically and socially important issues which will have to be debated over the coming years.”

Letter To All Members of  Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness-Paddy Healy   Wed 15/06/2016

A Cháirde,

I am an activist in a campaign against eviction of homeowners and tenants in the context of a the national housing emergency  as recently affirmed by Minister Coveney.

Some of those who are having their homes being repossessed  are being evicted by the government which is the owner of a number of banks including AIB and PTSB

I believe it would be outrageous for any member of the Oireachtas Committee  to agree to the issue of  recommendations  on housing and homeless ness which did not call for an immediate halt to all evictions.

In the case of Banks in majority state ownership no legislation or constitutional change is required. The government can simply issue an instruction to the banks it owns. If the bank refuses to comply the Minister can call a special general meeting of shareholders in order to put  in place directors who will carry out the instructions of the owners. The Framework Agreement between Government and Banks is a purely informal, non-legally binding  arrangement.

But, of  course, all evictions should be banned in this emergency. This would require emergency legislation which could be completed in one day.

It would also be important for government to formally declare a housing emergency and to lay a document before both houses of the Oireachtas certifying that the emergency exist. This would prevent landlords and banks blocking the implementation of the legislation by attempting to invoke the constitutional protection of private property which is limited by the necessity to provide for “the common good”.

I and my allies will hold each member of the Oireachtas Committee responsible for future evictions who assents to recommendations  of the Committee which do not include the emergency prohibition of all evictions  until the housing and homelessness crisis has been resolved.

Government is about to lay a document before both houses by June 30 which will certify that a Financial Emergency continues to exist. This, it believes is necessary in order to protect confiscation of private property in public service  pensions from constitutional challenge.

Yours sincerely

Paddy Healy

88 Griffith Court, Fairview, Dublin 3

086-4183732

PS  I was very disappointed by the decision of the Committee not to invite The Hub Ireland and Mr Ken Smollen to address you

Your Recommendations will be discussed at a public conference of anti-eviction activist to be held in Killeshin Hotel Portlaoise before the end of this month-PH

PQ REPLY YESTERDAY TO SEAMUS HEALY TD-NOONAN REFUSES TO HALT EVICTION PROCEEDINGS BY BANKS HE OWNS DESPITE NATIONAL HOUSING EMERGENCY ANNOUNCED BY MINISTER COVENEY

“ONLY” 301 Home Loans Repossessed Last Year By AIB, PTSB-MICHAEL NOONAN

“Repossessions of Home Loans are not frequent amounting to 183 and 118 for AIB and Permanent TSB respectively in 2015”-Minister Noonan

Just as he did in a previous reply on in Jan 2016(Dail Record further Down), Minister Noonan seeks to minimise the horror facing families by misrepresentation and omission of key information.

The 301 repossessions of family homes are 301 too many. These are the 301 cases in which the state owned Banks Only were granted repossession orders.  (See I.T., KITTY HOLLAND further down)

Noonan omits the no of repossession cases taken by the state owned banks. Most of these never reach the stage of the issuance of a repossession order. People are too terrified to appear in court, of the publicity in small communities, the stress on young children at school etc. it is common to surrender the house and to go to live with relations in often overcrowded conditions. Some have committed suicide due to the extreme stress of the threat of repossession.

Mr Noonan says he has no role in the matter of repossessions by AIB, PTSB, EBS. He cites the Framework Agreement with Banks. This Agreement has no statutory force. Mr Noonan adheres to the Agreement in order to wash his hands. Mr Noonan does have a role in evictions. As owner of these Banks on behalf of the State, he  knowingly permits repossession cases to be taken though he can forbid this.

Please recommend that all repossession proceedings affecting dwelling houses, owned or rented, be halted immediately

Paddy Healy

 

PQ as originally Submitted

To ask the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD,

if, in view of the statement by Minister for Housing, Simon Coveney TD that there is a NATIONAL HOUSING EMERGENCY,

he will insist that Allied Irish Bank and its subsidiary the Educational Building Society and Permanent TSB, which are in majority State ownership, desist from seeking repossession of family homes through the Courts and withdraw all such existing applications before the Courts and

if these bodies refuse to comply, will he call a special general meeting of shareholders and use his majority share-holding to dismiss and replace directors refusing to comply with his instruction and

if he will make a statement on the matter ?

Seamus Healy   TD 087-2802199

QUESTION NO:  175

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan)
by Deputy Seamus Healy
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 14/06/2016

To ask the Minister for Finance if he will insist that a bank and its subsidiary (details supplied) which are in majority State ownership desist from seeking repossession of family homes through the Courts and withdraw all such existing applications before the Courts; in the event of the bank and its subsidiary refusing to comply, if he will call a special general meeting of shareholders and use his majority share holding to dismiss and replace the directors who refuse to comply with his instruction

REPLY.

As the Deputy will be aware, I have no role in the day-to-day running of the banks in which the State is a shareholder. These institutions are run on an independent and commercial basis and the details of the formal relationship between my Department and these institutions are set out in the respective Relationship Framework Agreements, which can be found via the following links.

AIB: http://finance.gov.ie/sites/default/files/Allied-Irish-Banks1.pdf

PTSB: http://finance.gov.ie/sites/default/files/Relationship%20Frameworks%20for%20the%20Irish%20Banks%20Irish%20Life%20and%20Permanent.pdf

In relation to the individual institutions referred to  in “details supplied” Permanent TSB, Allied Irish Banks and its subsidiary  EBS:

AIB and Permanent TSB have informed me that they prioritise keeping customers in their homes. Repossession is a last resort. Repossessions of Home Loans are not frequent amounting to 183 and 118 for AIB and Permanent TSB respectively in 2015.  In comparison AIB and Permanent tsb have entered formal forebearance measures in respect of 29,514 and 28,532 Home Loans respectively at December 2015.

While there are some differences between the banks referred to, their processes are similar.  In cases where customers do not meaningfully engage or do not engage at all with the bank, reject the offer of a sustainable mortgage restructuring solution or do not prioritise their mortgage payment,  both banks are likely to pursue enforcement through the court process.  It’s important to note that the initiation of legal proceedings does not necessarily result in repossession and both banks seek to engage constructively with borrowers at all times.  Both banks offer a wide range of solutions and operates multiple engagement channels that facilitate the maximum possible levels of engagement with customers in difficulty.

Within the Programme for Government there are several policy proposals detailed which are being worked on at present.  The objective of these proposals is to accelerate the restructuring of mortgage arrears cases and keep families in their homes in so far as possible.

Irish Times Report and Full Dail Record of Noonan Reply to Seamus Healy TD’s Call to STOP REPOSSESSIONS  Further Down

REPOSSESSIONS: NOONAN’S  MASTER CLASS–Paddy Healy

SPINNING TO MISLEAD ON REPOSSESSIONS IN THE DÁIL!

It is No Joke but Tommy Cooper Strikes Again! 

State Owned Banks, AIB, EBS,PERMANENT TSB, are seeking repossession of homes by court order throughout the country.

Seamus Healy TD  recently asked Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in the Dáil to instruct these banks to desist from this.

Mr Noonan refused and stated that  “In a very extreme situation, the issue is being handled reasonably well by the banks.”

In the course of his reply Minister Noonan quoted figures from a Central Bank report which stated that in Quarter 3(July, August, September)  207 properties were repossessed on foot of a court order. “The idea that tens of thousands of houses are being repossessed is just not correct” he said.

This statement is entirely deceptive though there is nothing technically incorrect in it. It is not just that he attempts to minimise the awful trauma for 207 families which are losing their homes. A key tactic of the “spinner to deceive” is the omission of key information.

Noonan’s 207 court orders for repossession are for 1 month only!!! Circuit courts do not sit in August and September. Hence the “Quarter 3” figures are for the month of July only!

 

The full information provided by the Courts Service and reported by Kitty Holland in the Irish Times Last November is: ” Of the 1,088 court orders for repossession made in the three quarters of 2015 up to September 30,  758 were for primary homes, 131 were for buy-to-lets and 199 were for “other” dwellings”. “-Irish Times

Courts Service: Repossession Orders in Circuit Courts 2015

Q1       314,   Q2   586,  Q3   188

There was a huge increase in possessions in the April to June period. Mr Noonan omits this information, and picks the figure for Q3 which he then implies is typical though it contains one month( July)  figures only! The reason the Central Bank figure for Q3 (207) is slightly above the Courts Service figure (188) may be that the Central Bank figure contains High Court orders in addition to the Circuit Court orders supplied by the Courts Service.

In time honoured fashion “Spinner Noonan”, to cover his tracks claims that it is others who are misrepresenting the situation! The idea that tens of thousands of houses are being repossessed is just not correct” he said. Additionally, this allows him to suggest that the repossession problem is really minimal and not nearly as bad as is being represented.

No journalist or serious person has spoken about “tens of thousands” of repossessions. 1,088 orders in the first 3 quarters of 2015 is already a disastrous figure!!!

For example,  Kitty Holland, Irish Times Nov 12, 2015. says

: “Banks have sought to repossess almost 4,500 homes  since the start of the year up to September 30, the latest figures from the Courts Service of Ireland indicate”-Kitty Holland, Irish Times Nov 12, 2015.

This is in line with the Central Bank Report: During the third quarter of 2015, legal proceedings were issued to enforce the debt security on private dwelling house mortgages in 1,687 cases (Central Bank Report).

Noonan invents the “tens of thousands” in order to minimize a problem which is in fact already disastrous-“the oldest trick in the book” of the spinner.

STATE DIRECTION OF BANKS IS UNTHINKABLE!-Noonan 

The right of human beings to stay in their own homes is a most important right. The vast majority of people in mortgage difficulty are entirely blameless for their own predicament. They were setting up homes at a particular time. They may have had to move jobs or have been transferred in their job at a particular time. They were failed by the state and by its organs such as the central bank and the financial regulator and by the government of the day.

But Mr Noonan believes that there are superior rights and superior interests and that the vindication of the rights of householders to stay in their own home  is a secondary consideration even if families must be placed in hotel rooms or hostels and may be dispersed.

Mr Noonan: “Notwithstanding the fact that the State is a shareholder in these institutions, I must ensure that these banks are run on a commercial and independent basis to ensure the value of the banks as an asset to the State”

Finance Minister Noonan has already made clear his intention to sell the state owned banks to private investors. Clearly, he is concerned to maximise the sale value of the banks.

Mr Noonan voted in the Dáil to compensate in full international investors who risked their funds in Irish Banks. Money was borrowed from international financiers to pay this compensation. Now Minister Noonan and the FG/Labour Government are using the banks to collect money originally paid to international investors in the same banks from the Irish population. Accordingly, Banks are allowed to charge interest rates to all Irish borrowers which are well above average rates in other European countries within the Eurozone. The value of houses in Ireland has now risen. Hence the huge rise in repossessions between Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 of 2015.

The Priority of Government is that the banks “be fattened up for privatisation”

Mr Noonan also tries to give the impression that he has no power to give instructions to state owned banks.

He says:  “There is a relationship framework, signed by my predecessors in office, with the banks and the essential component is that the political side will not interfere in commercial decisions “

Many listening may have got the impression that Mr Noonan had no power to instruct the government owned banks. The old omission trick! Mr Noonan omitted the words “voluntary” from “voluntary relationship framework”  -And he blames his “predecessors”-Fianna Fáil- as well!

The truth is that Mr Noonan can withdraw from the “relationship framework” at any time. He has taken a political decision to continue to honour it-and to allow the banks to evict Irish families!

He then drags up the notion that stopping state owned banks from evicting people would lead to people “applying to their local TD for a loan” and that the notion of state owned and directed banks was preposterous! Of course there have been state owned banks in Ireland for decades and there have been such in other European countries for even longer. There are well tried mechanisms for dealing with the problem of people applying to politicians for loans.

Noonan uses the image to cover up the responsibility of the government for evicting people on the one hand and extorting money to pay off international lenders from mortgage holders and small businesses on the other.. Pontius Pilate Lives!!!

Mortgage Arrears Problem is Being Solved Progressively-Noonan

Noonan gives the impression that the mortgage arrears problem is being progressively solved through helpful measures put in place by his government. The truth is that the problem of the banks is being solved by repossessing homes and extending mortgages at exorbitant interest rates for a greater number of years.

Crafty Capitalist Representative

Michael Noonan is a very crafty political representative of the Irish super-rich, Irish big business and of foreign big business. He is a master of spinning to deceive. He is assisted in this by the editorial writers and by the media political and economic correspondents. It would be simple for these to expose him but they have a vested in not doing so!

In fairness Kitty Holland in the Irish Times has accurately reported the rate of actual repossessions and court applications for repossession and columnist Fintan O’Toole has exposed his “Tommy Cooper”style deception on tax equity in favour of the very rich.

Dail Record   Jan 14/2016  Home Repossession

Parliamentary Question from Seamus Healy TD to Minister for Finance Ml. Noonan

  1. Deputy Seamus Healyasked the Minister for Finance   if he will insist that Allied Irish Bank and its subsidiary the Educational Building Society and Permanent TSB, which are in majority State ownership, desist from seeking repossession of family homes through the Courts and withdraw all such existing applications before the Courts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1426/16]

Deputy Seamus Healy:   Allied Irish Banks, the Educational Building Society and Permanent TSB are in majority State ownership. They are adding to homelessness and the housing crisis by repossessing family homes. I am asking the Minister, as the majority shareholder, to instruct the banks to desist from this practice.

Deputy Michael Noonan:   I would like to thank Deputy Healy for raising this question. As he is aware, I have no direct function in the relationship between the customer and PTSB, or AIB and its subsidiary EBS. Notwithstanding the fact that the State is a shareholder in these institutions, I must ensure that these banks are run on a commercial and independent basis to ensure the value of the banks as an asset to the State.

Decisions taken by the banks are a matter for the board and management of the relevant institution. The relationship framework agreements define the arm’s-length nature of the relationship between the State and the banks in which the State has an investment. The banks are therefore entitled to pursue all options open to them in order to realise the value of their impaired assets, within the significant constraints imposed by their regulator, the Central Bank and the law as it applies.

The Government has put in place a broad strategy to address the problem of mortgage arrears and family home repossessions. The primary focus of this strategy is to support those home owners in difficulty with their mortgage repayments and, in so far as possible, to avoid repossession of family homes. In recent months, the Government agreed measures to enhance awareness of and access to the insolvency framework. We expanded the mortgage-to-rent scheme, making it more accessible. In addition, my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald, also introduced the Bankruptcy (Amendment) Bill 2015, which will, among other things, reduce the normal duration of bankruptcy from three years to one year.

The Central Bank of Ireland’s code of conduct on mortgage arrears also provides protection as it sets out requirements for lenders dealing with borrowers who are facing, or in, mortgage arrears on their primary residence. It ensures that borrowers struggling to keep up mortgage repayments are treated in a fair and transparent manner by their lenders and that long-term resolution is sought by lenders with each of their borrowers.

The number of mortgages in arrears continues to fall. There are almost 121,000 restructuring arrangements in place and the vast majority of these are working. The figures demonstrate that most families can, working with their financial institutions, find an arrangement to make their mortgage commitments affordable. Active engagement by indebted borrowers with their lenders is key to achieving sustainable resolutions. I would urge borrowers in arrears who have not already done so to take that step by contacting their lender directly, or MABS, for an independent assessment of their situation and advice on available resolution options.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   There is a tsunami of homelessness in this country. Last November, the Dublin Homeless Executive provided figures according to which some 1,425 children in 677 families were in emergency accommodation. The Dublin Simon Community said that was unacceptable and shameful. Focus Ireland said that the Government had failed these families. The Master of the High Court, Mr. Edmund Honohan, criticised the banks and accused them of hounding home owners to suicide.

[Deputy Seamus Healy:  ] He criticised the fast-tracked repossession regime that the Government has allowed to be introduced in the courts. These banks are majority owned by the State and it is open to the Minister to instruct these banks to desist from repossessing family homes. In Tipperary alone, 100 families are facing repossession. The Minister should insist that this stop.

Deputy Michael Noonan:   Deputy Healy raised the very important issue of homelessness and the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Alan Kelly, brought forward proposals last year that have blunted the edge of this particular social crisis. Certainly, over the Christmas period there was less sense of a crisis with homelessness than there had been earlier in the year. The measures introduced by the Minister, Deputy Kelly, have been working and, please God, they will continue to work.

On the wider issue of repossession, which was the topic of the Deputy’s notified question, there is some interesting data published by the Central Bank. During the third quarter of 2015, legal proceedings were issued to enforce the debt security on private dwelling house mortgages in 1,687 cases. During quarter three, there were 798 cases where court proceedings concluded but arrears remained outstanding. In 329 cases, the court granted an order for repossession or the sale of the property. A total of 422 properties were taken into possession by lenders in the quarter, of which 207 were repossessed on foot of a court order. The remaining 215 were voluntarily surrendered or abandoned. The idea that tens of thousands of houses are being repossessed is just not correct. A small amount goes through the system. With the changes made by the Minister for Justice and Equality and with the Money Advice & Budgeting Service assisting directly people before the courts, I hope the number will diminish even further. It is the policy of the Government to put arrangements in place so that people can live in the family home.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   The Minister is the majority shareholder in these banks and he has obviously given permission to the banks to repossess family homes. He could equally instruct these banks not to go down this road and repossess family homes. He could call an emergency meeting of these bank boards and instruct them not to repossess family homes. I ask him to do so immediately and if bank directors do not agree, they should be sacked, as the Minister has the power to do so as a majority shareholder. This is urgent and, irrespective of the Minister’s comments, thousands of families in the country are facing homelessness because of banks in which the State has a majority shareholding. The Minister could give instructions to stop these repossessions and I ask him to do so immediately.

Deputy Michael Noonan:   There is a relationship framework, signed by my predecessors in office, with the banks and the essential component is that the political side will not interfere in commercial decisions. That is for a very good reason as we do not want to politicise the banks. It would be a very sad day for the country if the first port of call for a person seeking a loan had to be the local Deputy rather than a bank manager.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   We are not asking anybody to do that at all.

Deputy Michael Noonan:   There will be no political interference with the banks. On the question of repossessions, 207 houses were repossessed on foot of a court order, which does not equate to the tens of thousands of houses sometimes mentioned in commentary. There are 121,000 restructured mortgages on private dwellings, with a success rate of 86.6%. That means the arrangements stick in just under 87% of cases. The problem is being solved progressively. I appreciate it is very hard on people and I can appreciate that people who lost their jobs do not have money. I also appreciate the concerns and how upset people are. In a very extreme situation, the issue is being handled reasonably well by the banks

———————————–

Woman facing return to prison over refusal

Noonan: home repossessions being handled reasonably well

Minister says no political interference in bank decision, but progress being made

Irish Times  Thu, Jan 14, 2016, 11:39 Updated: Thu, Jan 14, 2016, 12:03

Marie O’Halloran

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: “I appreciate that it’s very hard on people. I appreciate people have lost their jobs and I appreciate how upset people are.”

Banks have been dealing with the issue of home repossessions “reasonably well”, according to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan.

He said “this idea of tens of thousands of houses being repossessed is just not correct”.

Mr Noonan said “I appreciate that it’s very hard on people. I appreciate people have lost their jobs and I appreciate the concerns and I appreciate how upset people are.

“But in a very extreme situation it’s been handled reasonably well by the banks.”

He was responding to Independent TD Séamus Healy who asked Mr Noonan, as the majority shareholder in AIB and its subsidiary EBS as well as the majority shareholder in Permanent TSB, “to call a meeting of the boards of the banks and to instruct them “not to repossess family homes”.

He said that if the bank directors would not agree to that then “sack those members. You have the power to do that as majority shareholder.

“There are thousands of families in this country, irrespective of what you say Minister, facing homelessness by these banks, of which the Government is a majority shareholder.”

Mr Noonan said a relationship framework had been agreed by the Government’s predecessors in office that “the political side will not interfere in commercial decisions” and they did not want to politicise the banks.

“It would be a very sad day for the country if you were looking for a loan and your first port of call had to be your local TD rather than the bank manager.”

He said 207 houses were repossessed on foot of court order and “that is not the 10s of thousands of houses that’s sometimes recited on the commentary on this”.

He said 121,000 mortgages on private dwellings had been restructured and the success rate was 86.6 per cent.

“So progressively the problem is being solved.”

Mr Noonan said statistics from the Central Bank showed that in the third quarter of 2015 (July, August and September) legal proceedings were issued in 1,687 cases of private mortgages.

“There were 798 cases where court proceedings concluded but arrears remained outstanding and the court granted a repossession order in 329 cases.

A total of 422 properties were taken into possession by lenders during the quarter and 215 were voluntary.

“It’s a very small amount to go through the system and since the changes were made by the Minister for Justice and that the money and Budgeting Advice Service are assisting people before the courts that will diminish even further,” Mr Noonan added.

 

Government Evicts Families—-Statement bySeamus Healy TD

This government is continuing to evict families from their homes.

In the Dáil last Thursday, I appealed to Minister Michael Noonan to order the banks he owns to withdraw repossession proceedings in light of the extreme housing emergency which exists.

The Minister refused.  This means that the government has given the green light to the banks they own, to continue to evict families.

Court Orders for repossession of 47 primary residences were granted at Clonmel and Nenagh Circuit Courts in the first 3 quarters of 2015. A further 8 buy-to-lets which also house families were also repossessed. Banks are now seeking a further 97 repossession orders for dwellings in Tipp, of which 32 are being sought by AIB, EBS and Permanent TSB which are owned by the Government through Michael Noonan (FG) Minister for Finance

Minister Noonan claimed that the issue was being reasonably handled by the banks. Totally misrepresenting the situation, Mr Noonan quoted the 208 orders for repossessions for the whole country for Quarter 3,2015 as representative of the scale of the problem. COURTS ONLY SIT FOR 1 OF THE 3 MONTHS IN QUARTER 3!! The Court Service Figures for the whole country for Quarters 1 and 2 are 586 and 314 respectively.

The proposed Eviction of 97 Tipperary Families Must Be Stopped Now!

 

Senior Minister Alan Kelly (Lab) and Minister of State Hayes(FG) must now intervene at Cabinet to have a Housing Emergency Declared and all repossession applications withdrawn.

In particular they must force Minister Noonan to withdraw the repossession applications by the banks he owns.

———————-

Castlebar Court Anti-Eviction Protest

https://www.facebook.com/cashin3/videos/vb.100001246297556/1173381982713334/?type=2&theater

13/06/2016

We have being contacted by RTE Over the passed few days over the selling of family home mortgages to vulture funds across the county When Gerry O Boyle campaigned in the last general election on this issue the matter was not allowed to be high-lighted. Now it has come the light with the assistance of Gerry O Boyle. RTE has decided to do a documentary on corruption of Irish banks and the cover up. RTE is now expected to do full coverage from Castlebar Eviction Court on June the 13th
Men in balaclavas evict families for vulture capitalists invited in by government to feed on the public           Irish Mirror Pat Flanagan 15:33, 3 Jun 2016 Mass evictions loom after it was revealed that 46,000 mortgages – the equivalent to all the homes in Drogheda and Dundalk – are now in the hands of vulture funds. The sight of men in balaclavas attempting to evict families from their homes as gardai stand idly by confirms that we are living in a very sick state. Tens of thousands of families face being evicted by the vultures. When a Government invites vultures into our country to feed on the misery of families in danger of losing their homes, you know Irish society has lost its moral compass. The sight of men in balaclavas attempting to evict families from their homes as gardai stand idly by confirms that we are living in a very sick state.Ireland is indeed a warped country which poisons golden eagles and venerates vultures selling off thousands of distressed mortgages at knockdown prices while refusing to give homeowners a writedown.

It is perhaps a metaphor for a country in terminal social decline where the vulnerable are fed to unscrupulous wealth funds who have not the slightest inkling of concern for their welfare.

There are few more reviled birds then the vulture yet our Finance Minister is a fan and believes they play a pivotal role in nature.

This is what he actually said: “Vultures provide a very good service in the ecology through cleaning up dead animals that are littered across the landscape.”

The dead animals he is talking about are the tens of thousands of people whose mortgages have been sold to foreign wealth funds without them having the opportunity of doing a deal with their former lender.

Ulster Bank’s decision to sell 900 home mortgages to vulture funds at a huge discount could lead to most of the families involved being evicted from their homes.

This rotten bank is not only heartless, they are gross hypocrites as they claim they do not do debt forgiveness yet sell off huge property portfolios to vulture funds at a fraction of their worth.

Ulster Bank is a private company which is in business for profit, what possible excuse can the State have for selling off thousands of homes in the middle of the worst housing in our history.

“Vulture lover” Noonan recently had the gall to claim he put safeguards in place to prevent the vultures kicking people from their homes when the mass evictions have already started.

“Such protection as vultures give to lambs,” said the 18th century Irish dramatist Richard Brinsley Sheridan…. he could have been talking about our Finance Minister.

The spiralling number of evictions has not come about by accident but as a result of actual Government policies which specifically set out to sell off huge property portfolios which could only be bought by vulture funds.

Around 90% of the State’s bad bank Nama’s assets have been sold to international speculators who have got them at a fraction of their true worth.

What is even more disturbing is that it appears the gardai are allowing hooded agents of the vultures terrorise families in the course of evictions as the Royal Irish Constabulary did for absentee landlords in the 19th century.

It is something of a sick joke that the country has been losing the run of itself celebrating 1916 and the beginning of the end of British rule when our government has handed over the homes, and the lives, of tends of thousands of families to anonymous foreigners.

Both Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan have taken time out to actually meet and greet the vultures and invited these scavengers to our country to feast on Irish families.

To help them digest the financial flesh the law here allows wealth funds to avail of favourable tax deals which are outside the reach of the Central Bank.

On the subject of the Central Bank, two years ago the then Governor Patrick Honohan said he was very unhappy about the sale of mortgage books to vulture funds and highlighted the consequences for tenants.

But Fine Gael and Labour were determined that the vultures be fed and allowed the sell-off which saw property portfolios worth tens of billions of euro go ahead with massive writedowns.

It is estimated that around 46,000 mortgages – the equivalent to all the homes in Drogheda and Dundalk – are now in the hands of vulture funds.

The newly-created Dublin Tenants Association has called for new laws to stop vulture capitalists from forcing families out of their homes.

DTA spokesman Patrick Bresnihan said: “This is not a natural disaster. The reality is government policy has been to facilitate vulture funds at every turn, without any research into the impact of international funds on the Irish housing system.”

The dreadful situation which families find themselves in is a direct reflection of the ethos and ideology of the previous government.

Vultures by their nature rarely attack healthy animals, but will prey on the weak and sick and that’s exactly what the Coalition did.

So we shouldn’t be too surprised about Michael Noonan’s love of vultures – it’s a case of birds of a feather flock together…


1,700 homes promised a year ago – not one has been built

Irish Independent June 7,201

Some 1,706 homes were approved in May 2015. Another 134 were sanctioned the following July, and 890 last January – a total of 2,730 across 145 individual schemes.

The Irish Independent asked each local authority to provide an update on how the projects were progressing. Three – Kerry, Offaly and Wexford – failed to respond. The data shows:

■ No social houses have been built by the local authorities from the 2,730 sanctioned as long as a year ago.

■ Just 26 are under construction in Donegal, Tipperary and Louth. Louth County Council said it expects 12 to be completed this month.

■ Architects and design teams are only now being appointed for many of the schemes. A significant number have yet to proceed to planning.

■ Some units have been purchased – Fingal has secured 44, Cork City another 28 and Louth another eight. But some councils are only beginning to purchase homes now.

■ In some cases, including Cork and Galway, the number of units has been increased, which has resulted in delays as projects must be redesigned.

■ Some other projects have also been cancelled or delayed.

In Longford, no work has started on 13 houses approved in Lanesborough last July. ‘Trial holes’ are being organised for the site, the council said.

A land swap is also being organised with the HSE in Meath to facilitate construction of 19 units in Summerhill, approved in May 2015.

In one case – a €3.1m scheme of 20 units at Strandhill in Co Sligo – construction work is not expected to begin until November next year, 30 months after it was approved.

The minister said special teams would be sent into local authorities to drive delivery.

Last year, 72 social houses were built, and around 1,160 acquired.

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David Walsh Released unconditionally by High Court 03/06/2016

David had spent 4 days in Cork Jail. David was convicted of criminal contempt in Waterford Circuit Court when he insisted on representing his sister who was up for repossession of her home.

David has done all those threatened with eviction a great service

Well Done to Waterford the HUB-IRELAND and Noel Brophy!

WOMAN LOSES HOME TO BANK AND HER BROTHER TO PRISON

Press Release By THEHUB-IRELAND  June 2, 2016
 The Hub-Ireland DATE: 1-6-2016 PRESS QUERIES: info@thehub-ireland.com (enter ‘Press Query’ Subject line) Tel: 01 534 9118 (office hours)
   WOMAN LOSES HOME TO BANK AND HER BROTHER TO PRISON At Waterford Circuit Court on Monday, a woman lost her home and her brother was taken away to prison after Judge Alice Doyle made a possession order in favour of the bank and held the home-owner’s brother to be in contempt of court.
He was sentenced to two weeks in prison and escorted out of the courthouse by Gardaí after voicing his objections to the proceedings in which the Judge had refused his sister the right for him to represent her, as is allowable. The home-owner had intended to defend her home because she believed she had an arguable case and wished to exercise her right to due process. She wished to bring certain matters before the Judge for consideration before any possession order would be given. However, she was unable to afford legal representation and did not feel able to carry out the role of representing herself in such an already stressful situation, where she would be up against the bank’s professional legal team, including a barrister. In previous proceedings in the same case, but in front of a Registrar, her brother had been allowed to represent his sister.
On Monday, she had signed a Power of Attorney for her brother to represent her again, but Judge Doyle disallowed the request.
The Hub-Ireland, a voluntary group working to help distressed mortgage-holders, is extremely concerned at how mortgage cases are being dealt with by the judicial system generally and for the personal plight of the woman in this particular case, who has not only lost her home without being able to present her defence, but has also had to watch her brother being carried away to prison.
The Hub-Ireland is repeating its call for an end to the Evictions Courts. Its members have been observing the workings of such courts throughout the country and have reported many similar cases where home-owners, who could not afford to employ a legal team to match the bank’s one, have their rights to justice severely compromised as a result. “This is wrong and it has to stop,” said Byron Jenkins of The Hub-Ireland. “Tonight there is a man in prison and a woman faces eviction, having lost her home. This is a personal tragedy for this family, but it also highlights all that is wrong about how the mortgage-crisis has been dealt with. We again call on the government and all in the political system to act immediately to put an end to the barbaric suffering being caused to good Irish people, whose only mistake was to borrow to put a roof over their heads.
The Dáil will break for summer holidays in a few weeks time, but it will be a long hot summer for those facing eviction as a result of political inaction,” said Jenkins.
The Hub-Ireland is a voluntary, self-help community organisation that offers free help, support and information to homeowners who are in danger of eviction from their homes by mortgage companies. It has launched a campaign to have the Evictions Courts abolished and asks for the public to support the initiative. It invites anyone in mortgage distress to contact them at info@thehub-ireland.com or phone 01 534 9118.
/ends press release
Please Note: The Hub-Ireland has a number of expert spokespersons who are available to appear as panelists on radio and television programs dealing with the issues of mortgage distress. They are also available to give interviews to print media. Please contact The Hub-Ireland at info@thehub-ireland.com (enter ‘Press Query’ in Subject line) or phone 01 534 9118 during office hours.

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Brother of Woman Facing Repossession JAILED FOR TWO WEEKS FOR CONTEMPT in Waterford Circuit Court

SHOCKING INHUMANITY OF EVICTION SYSTEM

He Had Been Prevented From Speaking on Behalf of his sister in Court though she had given him her Power of Attorney

Waterford The Hub-Ireland

In Waterford court today a man who had  been given power of attorney by his sister  was denied by justice Doyle the right to speak on behalf of his sister in opposing the repossession of her home. When the man Questioned the Judge he was put in contempt of court. Another man questioned her decision also. He was also  put in contempt. Later both were questioned by gardaí and brought back into court. The brother was jailed for two weeks

Earlier,he had handed to the judge the document  stating  that he had been given power of attorney by his sister. The judge left the bench for 10min and  came back with a decision that he could not speak for her in court. She wouldn’t allow him  question her jurisdiction in the matter. She put him in contempt and later jailed him for two weeks

He had repressented his sister 2 months earlier on the same matter in  front of a different judge who had agreed to this procedure

Further Post on Facebook By HUB-Ireland

(A male young man appeared in court to swear the affidavit on behalf of the bank. The signature on the affidavit was that of a woman!!!—-PH)

WANTED:

We need the ID of this child: this is the young man that came to court yesterday as a competent witness for the Banks: he was never sworn in / or gave his name; the only words he uttered from the back of the courtroom was “Yes”, after Judge Alice Doyle had asked “did you sign the affidavit for the Banks”.

Funny that:: the deponent of the Affidavit was in fact a woman, so how come??

The Judge then replied; “that’s good enough for me” and granted a possession Order on a Family Home and Jailed the Brother for two weeks for contempt for wishing to represent his sister.

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The two hooded balaclava wearing individuals entering the Garda Squad Car are not prisoners!
They are employees of a security company leaving the scene having failed to evict a householder in Co Clare recently

“Stop Evictions” Picket on Ennis Banks

DISAPPOINTMENT OVER CLARE’S TDS FAIURE TO ATTEND DEMONSTRATION AT ENNIS BANKS

Clare’s Oireachtas representatives are being condemned for their failure to attend a demonstration outside Ennis banks this morning.

Groups led by Midwest Right2Change launched the picket in protest at the repossession of houses by financial institiutions, as well as the ongoing housing crisis.

As the sun shone down on Ennis town centre this morning, groups picketing the town’s three main banks say the situation isn’t so bright for many people facing homlessneess across the county.

Today’s protest, organised by Right2Change, began outside Ulster Bank in the Height and from there moved on to AIB and then onto Bank of Ireland.

A small group of public representatives and locals highlighted their concerns following a recent high-profile attempted eviction in Corofin.

One of them, Anti-Austerity Campaigner Niamh O’Brien says something needs to be done to stop banks from reposessing homes.

Protestors hit out at Clare’s Oireachtas representatives for failing to attend today.

Shannon Sinn Féin Counillor Mike Mc Kee says they need to put pressure on the Government to deal with the housing crisis.

Limerick City TD Maurice Quinlivan, who represents part of Clare also attended today’s protest.

The Sinn Féin representative is a member of the Dáil Homeless and Housing Committee and he says an adequate Mortgage to rent scheme would help ease the crisis for some families.

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 Noonan feeds the vulnerable to the vultures

Rather than Minister Noonan giving the unfortunate mortgage defaulter a break, he’s been fraternising with their enemy

Carol Hunt, Sunday Independent,  29/05/2016

1Support: Michael Noonan will be happy with evictions Photo: Tom Burke

The video footage is shocking. It shows a number of men, hooded, black scarves covering their faces, attempting to gain access to a private home. To even the most trusting of observers, they don’t look as if they can be up to any good.

Beside them, the car they allegedly drove up in – and which we will see them later drive off in – has no insurance or tax disc displayed and the registration number is covered over with tape. This is undoubtedly illegal.

Local men confront them, clearly agitated. Thankfully, there are gardai present and the traffic violations are quickly pointed out to them.

Except that, as the video footage unfolds, it becomes disturbingly clear that the gardai have no intention of noting these offences, that they are there purely to assist the hooded men in gaining access to the house. They are on the side of what looks like the bad guys.

Welcome to a modern-day Irish eviction. (There was a doubling in the number of properties repossessed by mortgage lenders in Ireland between 2010 and 2013, new research has found.)

This time it fails. The heavy gang leave in their car which still lacks a visible registration number. This time there was no paperwork which allowed them to legally enter the property – but if members of the Anti-Eviction Taskforce had not been present to vociferously, but peacefully, protest, yet another family would have found themselves homeless by nightfall.

Well, that’s what happens isn’t it? When you can’t pay your debts, when you fall behind on your mortgage, when the bank lent you money with no questions or queries beyond “how much?” and “sure, would you not like a few thousand more?” But now, kiddo, it’s payback time.

Well, for some people it is anyway. But we know a few things now that we didn’t know back in 2007. We know, courtesy of Ajai Chopra, that the EU issued an ultimatum to Ireland at the time of the bailout. We know that the ECB would not allow us to burn senior bondholders. We know that we are still paying billions in interest because of this unfortunate “mistake”.

We know this week, thanks to NTMA chief executive Conor O’Kelly, that every worker in the country pays an extra €3,400 in tax every year compared with just €900 in 2007. We know we were taken for a ride by banks, the bondholders, and the head honchos in Europe – as well as our own crowd. And we know, as O’Kelly said, that our State debt pile of €207bn, €102,000 per employee, is “easily the highest in Europe, by a mile”. To be clear he added: “It’s one of the highest ratios in the world.”

Which may explain why so many people are finding it so difficult to service 2007 mortgages with 2016 wages (that’s if they’re still lucky enough to be working).

Half the bloody economy is going into a black hole of debt repayments. The average Irish worker took the hit for all those bondholders and bankers who were allowed play financial roulette with no consequences to themselves if they lost everything.

You’d think the Government would feel a little bit sheepish about that now, wouldn’t you? You’d presume that they would go a bit easy on Joe and Josephine Soap who were unfortunate enough to need a mortgage when prices were beyond the moon and the banks were happy to feed the insanity? And you’d certainly think that, in light of our enormous State debt (remember, “the highest in Europe, by a mile”!) Michael Noonan would still be in the market for a bit of debt forgiveness from the EU or IMF.

You’d think, maybe they’d listen to people – like those in the Anti-Eviction Taskforce, The Phoenix Project, Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation, The Hub and all those other groups working at the coalface of people who are in despair at the prospect of losing their homes, and maybe ask the banks to share a bit of the risk, the cost, the fallout?

But no, seemingly everything is going swimmingly in Noonan Land, because earlier this month he said we didn’t need any deals on debt, because we’re in a “pretty good place now”.

Which will come as news to the hundreds of thousands of people in the country in mortgage distress – particularly if their mortgages have been sold on to vulture funds at cheap prices not offered to them – terrified to answer their doors in case it’s the bailiff with a crowd of hooded men and a few gardai backing them up.

It will also come as news to people like Fr Peter McVerry, whose Trust last Friday appealed to the Government to do more for people at risk of becoming homeless and particularly the dangers that the vulture funds bring with them.

Michael Noonan is a fan, seemingly. Of vulture funds. I know, that’s hard to believe, but then some people have hard necks. They can afford to.

Fine Gael TD Catherine Byrne got terribly upset when David Hall, of Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation (IMHO), called Mr Noonan a “vulture [fund] lover” at an Oireachtas Housing and Homelessness committee meeting recently.

After a “face-to-face” meeting with the minister, Hall said: “He was very clear about his love for vultures. We had a very robust exchange in relation to it … the self-confessed predators. They circulate for five years, they suck an asset dry and they move on.”

Last week Ulster Bank announced that it would be selling over 2,900 of its customers’ mortgages to “vulture funds”.

Of those, 900 are family homes, the others, one presumes, are rental properties. (Most evictions in Ireland actually arise when people can’t pay escalating rents, as opposed to mortgages.)

According to the recent report by the Debt and Development Coalition Ireland (DDCI) our Government “wholeheartedly embraced vulture funds”, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about their attitude to Joe or Josephine mortgage problems. Or families like my friend Danielle’s, who have just been given a few months to leave the home they have rented for 10 years.

Their landlord is sorry, but the mortgage has been sold on to vulture funds and all he can do is commiserate and say that they were exemplary tenants.

Like many other families in similar situations, they haven’t a hope of finding affordable accommodation near their jobs and children’s schools.

An EU-wide report headed up by NUIG academic Padraig McKenna also found that “there were relatively high numbers of evictions (including illegal evictions) in the [Irish] private rented sector”. According to the DDCI report, “the arrival of vulture funds means an increased likelihood of people being evicted from their homes”.

Well, “duh” as my kids would say; it shouldn’t take an academic report to deduce that.

The people evicted will probably end up in hotels at the State’s expense – but hey, the vulture funds and Minister Noonan is happy – so that’s all right so.

Groups like the Anti-Eviction Taskforce look set to have their work cut out for them in the immediate future.

Welcome to the “new politics”, and old-style land repossessions.

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KEN SMOLLEN, THE HUB IRELAND  BRIEF DEPUTIES AND SENATORS AT LEINSTER HOUSE AT INVITATION OF SEAMUS HEALY TD

CALL FOR STOP TO EVICTION PROCEEDINGS IN COURT, FORMAL DECLARATION OF NATIONAL HOUSING EMERGENCY BY DAIL

REPORT ON BRIEFING  BY KEN SMOLLEN   18/05/2016

This evening is probably not a good time to write a report on today’s meeting with TD’s, Senators and their representatives in Leinster House as I usually need a day to fully analyse any event or meeting.

However, it was an absolute pleasure to meet what I would describe as three very like-minded people, namely Byron, Adrienne and Martina in The Hub office in Dublin before heading off to Leinster House. Adrienne had the job of looking after callers to The Hub while Byron, Martina and I went to the meeting where we first met Seamus Healy TD and his brother Paddy. We had a cup of coffee in the café there while discussing the approach we would be making when presenting our case on behalf of thousands of people who find that they are the totally innocent victims of the bailed out banks who want to ‘legally’ steal their family homes!

There were approx. 20 TD’s present at different stages during our presentation including the following – Sean Crowe, Eugene Murphy, Pat Buckley, Thomas Pringle, Dara Calleary, Martin Ferris, Sean Fleming, Carol Nolan, Ann Rabbitte, Eoin O’Broin and others. Represented were Richard Boyd Barrett and Joan Collins. Needless to say no representative from either Fine Gael or the Labour Party was there. It surprised me that not one representative of the Independent Alliance made the effort either as all TD’s were invited there by Seamus Healy TD and by myself.

I began the presentation by describing to those present what actually happens in the Eviction Courts and how people are being treated in a shameful way in particular by County Registrars. I described the intimidating atmosphere in these places and the absolute horror, despair and desperation that I see on a regular basis in these awful places. I also informed them that during the month of May alone there are well over 2,000 Eviction cases listed in the courts throughout the country and with an average of 3 or 4 members of each household it would be the equivalent of the population of a large town being hauled before the Eviction courts – and that’s just this month alone. I also impressed on them that not only are there approx. 100,000 families in mortgage distress but that there could be a further 200,000 families going without some of the basic necessities just to pay their mortgages and that many of these people were also slipping into mortgage distress. Again I said that with an average of 3 to 4 people per household we are looking at over ONE MILLION people in Ireland being in this awful situation with no resolution in sight.

I then explained how the banks were refusing to engage with many mortgage holders in any way even though the banks claim that it’s the other way around. I also said to them that the Government must FORCE the banks to engage fairly with mortgage holders and that a fair and sustainable solution must be found for ALL mortgage holders before there would be any recovery for the people of Ireland.

Martina then spoke about and gave an excellent presentation on the Land & Conveyancing (Law Reform) Act of 2013 [The EVICTION Act] and explained how it must be repealed as it gives the bailed out banks easier access to repossessing family homes.

Byron then gave an exception explanation of how The Hub-Ireland is helping families every day for FREE and also urged those present the need for an urgent solution to this desperate crisis.

The politicians who were present then made their own contributions with all of them agreeing that a real recovery for the people of Ireland could only take place once the people of Ireland were treated fairly by the banks. They were all in agreement that they must act in the best interests of the people that they represent.

Our next step with the help of Seamus Healy is to gain an invitation to make a submission to the housing committee where we can again impress on them the necessity for two things – 1) The urgent need for a STOP to be put on EVICTION Court proceedings in the courts while the banks are forced to find a fair and sustainable solution for all mortgage holders and 2) To have an official EMERGENCY declared in relation to this crisis. Such a declaration would put a stop to Michael Noonan’s nonsense about the Government being unable to interfere in private property transactions.

All in all it was a very good day and I’m sure that by keeping the pressure on these people we can achieve real change for the better, not only keeping families in their homes but in the process, saving many lives.

I was not expecting to see Fine Gael’s representative from Offaly there as she was one of those who unashamedly voted YES for the Eviction Bill and because there weren’t any photo opportunities for her to take advantage of. I am however extremely disappointed with the non-appearance of the Fianna Fail TD for Offaly. When the meeting was over he walked as we were talking outside the meeting room, he looked and grinned, as much as to say – Who let those peasants into this important place.

Finally, I would like to thank Paddy Healy and his brother Seamus for arranging this first meeting and I have absolutely no doubt that we will now gain the support of other TD’s in our justified fight for fairness for thousands of our people. With the help of these good men we certainly hope to receive an invitation to make a submission to the housing committee.

KEEP SUNDAY 19th JUNE FREE – 1.30pm in the Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise – EVERYONE WELCOME!

Thanks everyone,

Ken


Claire Byrne Live on Housing and Homelessness
http://www.rte.ie/…/sh…/claire-byrne-live-30003252/10576915/
Listen to First 30 minutes on Housing and Homelessness

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Housing is national emergency says Simon Coveney, Minister for Housing

Why does he not formally lay a certificate to this effect before the Dáil?

Because then there would be no constitutional prohibition to stopping evictions and compusorily purchasing the property of vulture capitalists  in order to ease the housing crisis

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Why Can’t State Just Borrow 10 billion at very low interest rates to begin Building 50,000 publicly owned  houses immediately as advocated by David McWilliams Below? He claims the loan would be self-financing at much lower than current rents!

ANSWER?   HINT -Read the provisions of the Fiscal Treaty!

David McWilliams  IRISH INDEPENDENT  11/05/2016

Easy for the State to Build 50,000 houses ??

Let’s examine how the State could involve itself in financing a housing trust using the international financial markets to massively reduce housing costs in Ireland.

Currently, the markets will finance any good opportunity. When interest rates are zero, the obvious thing to do is borrow for infrastructural projects and housing is the most significant infrastructural development that one can think of right now.

Let’s look at the numbers.

Builders will tell you that building costs are around €120/130 a square foot. For a large scheme, this could be lower and could move towards €100.

Now let’s say that the average unit in Dublin or any urban centre in Ireland is 1,400 square feet. This means that the average building cost of a house/apartment of this size is €140,000. Add to this VAT of 13.5pc and we get €158,200.

Now on top of this there are professional fees for architects and surveyors and the like. These could be 12pc of the contract price plus 23pc VAT. So this is close to €19,000 on top of this price, bringing the €140,000 initial cost, up with all the fees and taxes to around €166,000.

Then on top of this are development levies which are the costs per unit that are added by the council to pay for new roads, water pipes and sewage. These are typically €9,000 per unit. So we are now up to €175,000 per unit.

Now we have the cost of the build with all the charges and taxes before we talk about site cost.

In 2011, Dublin probably had enough houses to deal with the population. However, there should have been 60,000 built since to keep up with population growth but only 8,000 have been built, so we have a shortfall of around 50,000 for the sake of argument.

Imagine the State was to build or fund the build of 50,000 houses. At €175,000 each, this would cost €8.7bn. This is a big number but the Irish State can borrow for 10 years at 1pc, according to Bloomberg yesterday. Therefore, the State could issue a Housing Executive Bond, which it could sell to Irish residents who are sitting on €94bn of deposits in the Irish banking system. Servicing this debt would cost €87m per year.

Traditionally, countries don’t pay back the principal of their national debts, they simply roll it over.

So it would be prudent to suggest that we would do the same for this Housing Executive Bond.

Now we have a situation where the total annual cost of 50,000 units is €87m. This means that the annual cost per unit is €1,740. The implication is the rent that would be needed to be charged per unit per year to pay the cost of this build, funded by a Housing Executive Bond, is €1,740 per year. Let’s round this up to €2,000 per unit per year, to include maintenance.

So total rental cost of a new house or apartment is not €12,000 per annum, as is the case right now, but €2,000 per annum or €38 a week.

This is feasible. You have seen the numbers. The major cost omitted is the site cost and this is where we come into the land issue.

At a density of 60 units per hectare, this would mean about 833 hectares of development land, or about 2,000 acres, is needed. There are 28,000 acres in Dublin in total but just one bank, Ulster Bank, put a portfolio of 1,850 acres of development land up for sale this year. So the development land portfolio of just one bank could almost cover this total city requirement! Now we are talking.

The State could simply CPO this land at cost and be done with it. You could add the repayment cost of this land to the annual rent. This would bring up the annual cost of the rent needed to cover everything to €3,000 per year or a quarter of present average rent paid.

Thus, the great Irish housing crisis is solved for less than €60 per week for a family of four in return for a new house, fixity of tenure and peace of mind!

That’s how it’s done in proper countries. The choice is ours.

Let’s join the 21st century and stop gouging each other for the basic right of a roof over our heads.

Unlike the lads on the Magic Bus, these are the numbers, no one is smoking funny stuff, just seeing things clearly through the haze of vested interests and inertia.

Problem solved.

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“Organised by former garda Ken Smollen, this is yet another meeting attended by many groups who are at the coalface of the mortgage crisis. And a crisis it is”

PUBLISHED08/05/2016 | 02:30   Sunday Independent

Thousands of homeowners left at the mercy of the banks bear a burden of daily fear and uncertainty, with many contemplating suicide, and some acting on those feelings, writes Carol Hunt

‘My name is Sandy and I am in mortgage distress,” says a woman at the back of the room. She clears her throat and continues: “It was ‘my little secret’, because I told nobody, I was too ashamed. My friends didn’t know, my family didn’t know. I felt I had failed and I had made a huge mistake.” She pauses, I catch her eye and then look away, embarrassed.

We’re in the Hotel Killeshin Portlaoise. There are over 300 angry, frustrated and emotional people here – all united by a common goal of “stopping the evictions”.

Organised by former garda Ken Smollen, this is yet another meeting attended by many groups who are at the coalface of the mortgage crisis. And a crisis it is.

According to Smollen, as well as the 100,000 mortgages currently in distress, there are another 200,000 in danger of slipping into difficulty.

Plus, there are many small businesses and farms on the brink of insolvency. Extrapolate that to include families and that is over a million people affected, he says.

These are not accidental landlords or developers rescued by Nama. These are people who cannot pay back Celtic Tiger-size mortgages in a post-crash economy. Consequently, they are faced with eviction by their banks and, increasingly, by vulture funds.

They are ordinary people, most of whom have never asked for anything or fallen into debt before and they are shocked and sickened at the sudden realisation that they may find themselves homeless.

These are the people for whom debt is seen as a sacred obligation, a moral duty.

If they don’t pay what they owe, the economy as we know it will collapse and moral hazard will ensue.

Or so we are told.

So why isn’t mortgage debt front-page news? Why isn’t it an issue garnering the same attention as those damned water charges? Shame, is the simple answer. People are – sometimes quite literally – dying of shame at the thought that their friends and neighbours will find out their dirty little secret.

Sandy wasn’t given the option of choosing to get her problem off her chest by sharing it with others in the same situation. She didn’t decide that she was going to be brave and f**k the begrudgers.

She had been ‘outed’ by her local newspaper, who put details of her indebtedness on the front page.

It’s obvious that the indignity and disgrace she feels still rankle.

“People will be too ashamed to come out and protest,” she insists. But there were some who disagreed with her.

One elderly man stands up and admits: “The only wish myself and my wife have is that we can die in our own home… Am I suicidal?” he asks us as he clings to the microphone. “Yes, I am,” he answers bluntly. “It’s a companion of mine. Every morning I wake up and think of it.”

He looks around at the sea of emotionally distressed faces. “We need to tell our stories,” he insists. “There are so many, many people in similar situations. We need empathy … we need a hug. We need to work with everyone, but,” he warns with the tired voice of a man who has seen much betrayal and hurt, “put your faith in no one.”

Ciaran Doyle explained that his mortgage was sold to vulture funds without his knowledge. Smollen recalls how one woman said she would rather “set fire to my house and set myself alight in it” than hand it over to the moneylenders.

Martina Doyle from The Hub Ireland (a voluntary organisation which helps people in mortgage distress) explains how the Land and Conveyancing Reform Act 2013, which “gave clarity and comfort to the banks”, has led to the so-called “eviction courts” and needs to be immediately repealed.

Her organisation gets phone calls of desperation “from a mother or father panic-stricken as to where they are going to go, the single person who feels they have no rights, as they are on their own, the elderly couple who are frightened to death of the knock at the door that will drag them out in front of their neighbours.”

Examples are given of how the eviction courts can intimidate such vulnerable people – most of whom are totally unused to courts of any kind.

There is a huge misconception in the public arena that “these people just don’t want to pay their mortgages and are freeloaders”.

“Anyone who thinks that”, she says, “just needs to come to The Hub for just one day and listen to the calls we take.”

But still these people, in despair and anguish, are told, a debt is a debt is a debt. They borrowed money from a bank and they are therefore legally and morally bound to pay it back. Unlike say, the well-heeled speculators who found themselves in Nama.

Earlier this month, it was revealed by Michael Noonan that Nama has written off debts totalling €1.5bn owed by just 80 debtors to the agency.

Noonan explained that the “debt is only written off where all of the underlying assets have been realised, there are no further assets to be realised nor any additional recourse available to Nama to recover borrowings from the debtor”.

Which is the same situation that would apply to most of the ordinary people in unsustainable mortgage debt that I have met up and down the country. And yet it doesn’t.

Why one rule for one group and a much harsher one for the other?

Because, bluntly, when debt is racked up by governments, corporations, banks, or by privileged insiders, it can always be renegotiated or written off. That’s how the system works. It’s only when debts are owed from the poor to the rich that issues such as moral hazard are introduced.

Only then does debt become a sacred obligation. It’s a way of keeping the cash/power flowing upwards. It’s also a way of keeping people in their assigned places.

In the past, precautions were taken to protect debtors from unscrupulous lenders. Yet today it is creditors who are protected at the expense of debtors, corporations at the expense of citizens, banks at the expense of nations.

“There’s no political will to solve this issue,” said one man at the Killeshin Hotel last week. “Because there are no votes in it. Unlike the water charges, people are too ashamed to protest.

He may be right. An invitation was issued to every TD and senator in Leinster House. Five attended – none from the last government parties. “We know that people are going to die [due to debt]” he added.

Another man spoke passionately and bitterly of debt-related suicides occurring daily as he urged people to act now before there are further deaths.

You may think this is emotionally charged exaggeration, but a recent survey by the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation (IMHO) found that of 488 people aged between 29-70 who are in debt (questioned by clinical psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy), 44pc said they felt depressed all or most of the time; 31pc have had suicidal thoughts in the past four weeks; 22pc had active plans to kill themselves and 45pc indicated harmful levels of alcohol abuse.

Now, just think of the thousands of people in mortgage distress in this country and you can begin to imagine the depth of human suffering in our midst.

So what can we do? This week, we heard promises about putting pressure on banks to offer “sustainable” solutions to those in mortgage distress and there are suggestions for a new court to deal with arrears; but, judging by the numbers at risk and the distress involved, this will not suffice.

Certainly we need people to be offered split mortgages, term extensions and long-term interest rate reductions.

But for many families, what is needed is debt-forgiveness. And quickly. But the banks – who brought the country to its knees through their reckless lending and were rewarded for doing so with billions of our euro – won’t play ball.

They are so confident of their power that they are currently swindling variable-rate mortgage-holders with high interest rates.

They are selling off homes to vulture funds at a cost not offered to the now homeless occupiers. They are doing pretty much as they please.

The new Government is making noises about putting manners on them. But for many families in mortgage distress, it may already be too late.

@carolmhunt

The Hub Ireland: http://www.thehub-ireland.com/ Phone: 01 534 9118

IMHO https://www.mortgageholders.ie/contact/

Phoenix Project Ireland 1850203040

Samaritans 116 123.

Aware 1800 80 48 48.

Pieta House 01 601 0000

Sunday Independent

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NO COMITTMENT TO STOP EVICTIONS IN FF-FG DEAL FOR GOVERNMENT

“Protect the family home and introduce additional long term solutions for mortgage arrears cases.”

This is so vague that it could mean nothing.

There is no comittment to declaring a housing emergency

FF-FG DEAL on Minority Government

Securing Affordable Homes and Tackling Homelessness
– Significantly increase and expedite the delivery of social housing units, remove barriers to private housing supply and initiate an affordable housing scheme
– Retain mortgage interest relief beyond the current end date of December 2017 on a tapered basis.
– Increase rent supplement and Housing Assistance payment (HAP) limits by up to 15% taking account of geographic variations in market rents, and extend the roll out by local authorities of the HAP, including the capacity to make discretionary enhanced payments.
– Protect the family home and introduce additional long term solutions for mortgage arrears cases.
– Improve supports and services for older people to live independently in their own home, including a provision for pension increases.
– Provide greater protection for mortgage holders, tenants and SMEs whose loans have been transferred to non-regulated entities (‘vulture funds’).

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GREAT ANTI_EVICTION MEETING  Took Place Saturday, April 30 IN PORT LAOISE

MEETING HAS GIVEN FG-FF 6 weeks to END EVICTIONS Listen at Links Below 

Port Laoise Anti-Eviction Meeting-Proceedings  Part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYkC_QrkZZo
Port Laoise Anti-Eviction Meeting-Proceedings  Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX_2e8dPQLw&feature=youtu.be

Arrival of Vulture funds set to fuel evictions, report reveals

Irish Times Colm Keena

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 3, 2016, 01:00

The arrival of “vulture funds” in the Irish property market means an increased likelihood of people being evicted from their homes, according to a report published today.

The funds that have bought into the Irish commercial and residential property market, mostly by way of buying loans from State-owned institutions, will want to see “big yields” on their investments, which in practice means “squeezing debtors hard”.

The report entitled, From Puerto Rico to the Dublin Docklands, Vulture Funds and Debt in Ireland and the Global South, by the Debt and Development Coalition Ireland (DDCI), said that while there is little research yet available on the effect of vulture fund involvement in the European property market, research from the US indicates an increased likelihood of people being thrown out of their homes.

DDCI is a coalition of Irish development, faith-based and solidarity groups concerned about the effects of debt on developing countries. It is chaired by Sorley McCaughey, advocacy and policy officer with Christian Aid. The report was written by Dr Michael Byrne of the UCD School of Social Justice.

Distressed debt

Hedge funds or private equity funds that invest in distressed debt – vulture funds – originally invested in sovereign debt but since the financial crisis in 2008 have moved into buying loans linked to the property market in the US and Europe.

The Irish Government, according to the report, has “wholeheartedly embraced vulture funds” and their entry into the Irish market could not have occurred were it not for two major public banking institutions, the National Asset Management Agency (Nama), and the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

Nama is the public entity that acted as Ireland’s bad bank for property loans issued by Irish banks, while the IBRC, which is now in liquidation, took over the collapsed Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide.

Locals priced out

The report says that these two institutions sold assets under time pressure and did so at high discounts. Because the loans were sold in large “bundles” or portfolios, local investors were priced out. The two institutions “sell big, they sell quick, and they sell cheap”, according to the report.

“This created a context which not only favoured vulture funds, in a sense it meant that only vulture funds had the financial fire power required to play this extremely high stakes game.” The fact that the Irish financial system is in crisis means it was very hard or impossible for domestic actors to obtain credit to invest in Irish real estate.

The creation of a direct link between Irish property and the international financial system, via the vulture funds, exposes the Irish economy and society to the possibility of “sharp shocks” caused by events very much outside the control of the Irish political or regulatory system, according to the report.

Global vulture funds, most of them US-based, are snapping up distressed debt linked to European property, most especially in the UK, Ireland and Spain. Global groups such as Cerberus, Lone Star Capital, and Blackstone, are among the top investors here.

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Irish Times Report and Full Dail Record of Noonan Reply to Seamus Healy TD’s Call to STOP REPOSSESSIONS  Further Down

REPOSSESSIONS: NOONAN’S  MASTER CLASS–Paddy Healy

SPINNING TO MISLEAD ON REPOSSESSIONS IN THE DÁIL!

It is No Joke but Tommy Cooper Strikes Again! 

State Owned Banks, AIB, EBS,PERMANENT TSB, are seeking repossession of homes by court order throughout the country.

Seamus Healy TD  recently asked Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in the Dáil to instruct these banks to desist from this.

Mr Noonan refused and stated that  “In a very extreme situation, the issue is being handled reasonably well by the banks.”

In the course of his reply Minister Noonan quoted figures from a Central Bank report which stated that in Quarter 3(July, August, September)  207 properties were repossessed on foot of a court order. “The idea that tens of thousands of houses are being repossessed is just not correct” he said.

This statement is entirely deceptive though there is nothing technically incorrect in it. It is not just that he attempts to minimise the awful trauma for 207 families which are losing their homes. A key tactic of the “spinner to deceive” is the omission of key information.

Noonan’s 207 court orders for repossession are for 1 month only!!! Circuit courts do not sit in August and September. Hence the “Quarter 3” figures are for the month of July only!

 

The full information provided by the Courts Service and reported by Kitty Holland in the Irish Times Last November is: ” Of the 1,088 court orders for repossession made in the three quarters of 2015 up to September 30,  758 were for primary homes, 131 were for buy-to-lets and 199 were for “other” dwellings”. “-Irish Times

Courts Service: Repossession Orders in Circuit Courts 2015

Q1       314,   Q2   586,  Q3   188

There was a huge increase in possessions in the April to June period. Mr Noonan omits this information, and picks the figure for Q3 which he then implies is typical though it contains one month( July)  figures only! The reason the Central Bank figure for Q3 (207) is slightly above the Courts Service figure (188) may be that the Central Bank figure contains High Court orders in addition to the Circuit Court orders supplied by the Courts Service.

In time honoured fashion “Spinner Noonan”, to cover his tracks claims that it is others who are misrepresenting the situation! The idea that tens of thousands of houses are being repossessed is just not correct” he said. Additionally, this allows him to suggest that the repossession problem is really minimal and not nearly as bad as is being represented.

No journalist or serious person has spoken about “tens of thousands” of repossessions. 1,088 orders in the first 3 quarters of 2015 is already a disastrous figure!!!

For example,  Kitty Holland, Irish Times Nov 12, 2015. says

: “Banks have sought to repossess almost 4,500 homes  since the start of the year up to September 30, the latest figures from the Courts Service of Ireland indicate”-Kitty Holland, Irish Times Nov 12, 2015.

This is in line with the Central Bank Report: During the third quarter of 2015, legal proceedings were issued to enforce the debt security on private dwelling house mortgages in 1,687 cases (Central Bank Report).

Noonan invents the “tens of thousands” in order to minimize a problem which is in fact already disastrous-“the oldest trick in the book” of the spinner.

STATE DIRECTION OF BANKS IS UNTHINKABLE!-Noonan 

The right of human beings to stay in their own homes is a most important right. The vast majority of people in mortgage difficulty are entirely blameless for their own predicament. They were setting up homes at a particular time. They may have had to move jobs or have been transferred in their job at a particular time. They were failed by the state and by its organs such as the central bank and the financial regulator and by the government of the day.

But Mr Noonan believes that there are superior rights and superior interests and that the vindication of the rights of householders to stay in their own home  is a secondary consideration even if families must be placed in hotel rooms or hostels and may be dispersed.

Mr Noonan: “Notwithstanding the fact that the State is a shareholder in these institutions, I must ensure that these banks are run on a commercial and independent basis to ensure the value of the banks as an asset to the State”

Finance Minister Noonan has already made clear his intention to sell the state owned banks to private investors. Clearly, he is concerned to maximise the sale value of the banks.

Mr Noonan voted in the Dáil to compensate in full international investors who risked their funds in Irish Banks. Money was borrowed from international financiers to pay this compensation. Now Minister Noonan and the FG/Labour Government are using the banks to collect money originally paid to international investors in the same banks from the Irish population. Accordingly, Banks are allowed to charge interest rates to all Irish borrowers which are well above average rates in other European countries within the Eurozone. The value of houses in Ireland has now risen. Hence the huge rise in repossessions between Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 of 2015.

The Priority of Government is that the banks “be fattened up for privatisation”

Mr Noonan also tries to give the impression that he has no power to give instructions to state owned banks.

He says:  “There is a relationship framework, signed by my predecessors in office, with the banks and the essential component is that the political side will not interfere in commercial decisions “

Many listening may have got the impression that Mr Noonan had no power to instruct the government owned banks. The old omission trick! Mr Noonan omitted the words “voluntary” from “voluntary relationship framework”  -And he blames his “predecessors”-Fianna Fáil- as well!

The truth is that Mr Noonan can withdraw from the “relationship framework” at any time. He has taken a political decision to continue to honour it-and to allow the banks to evict Irish families!

He then drags up the notion that stopping state owned banks from evicting people would lead to people “applying to their local TD for a loan” and that the notion of state owned and directed banks was preposterous! Of course there have been state owned banks in Ireland for decades and there have been such in other European countries for even longer. There are well tried mechanisms for dealing with the problem of people applying to politicians for loans.

Noonan uses the image to cover up the responsibility of the government for evicting people on the one hand and extorting money to pay off international lenders from mortgage holders and small businesses on the other.. Pontius Pilate Lives!!!

Mortgage Arrears Problem is Being Solved Progressively-Noonan

Noonan gives the impression that the mortgage arrears problem is being progressively solved through helpful measures put in place by his government. The truth is that the problem of the banks is being solved by repossessing homes and extending mortgages at exorbitant interest rates for a greater number of years.

Crafty Capitalist Representative

Michael Noonan is a very crafty political representative of the Irish super-rich, Irish big business and of foreign big business. He is a master of spinning to deceive. He is assisted in this by the editorial writers and by the media political and economic correspondents. It would be simple for these to expose him but they have a vested in not doing so!

In fairness Kitty Holland in the Irish Times has accurately reported the rate of actual repossessions and court applications for repossession and columnist Fintan O’Toole has exposed his “Tommy Cooper”style deception on tax equity in favour of the very rich.

Dail Record   Jan 14/2016  Home Repossession

Parliamentary Question from Seamus Healy TD to Minister for Finance Ml. Noonan

  1. Deputy Seamus Healy   asked the Minister for Finance   if he will insist that Allied Irish Bank and its subsidiary the Educational Building Society and Permanent TSB, which are in majority State ownership, desist from seeking repossession of family homes through the Courts and withdraw all such existing applications before the Courts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1426/16]

Deputy Seamus Healy:   Allied Irish Banks, the Educational Building Society and Permanent TSB are in majority State ownership. They are adding to homelessness and the housing crisis by repossessing family homes. I am asking the Minister, as the majority shareholder, to instruct the banks to desist from this practice.

Deputy Michael Noonan:   I would like to thank Deputy Healy for raising this question. As he is aware, I have no direct function in the relationship between the customer and PTSB, or AIB and its subsidiary EBS. Notwithstanding the fact that the State is a shareholder in these institutions, I must ensure that these banks are run on a commercial and independent basis to ensure the value of the banks as an asset to the State.

Decisions taken by the banks are a matter for the board and management of the relevant institution. The relationship framework agreements define the arm’s-length nature of the relationship between the State and the banks in which the State has an investment. The banks are therefore entitled to pursue all options open to them in order to realise the value of their impaired assets, within the significant constraints imposed by their regulator, the Central Bank and the law as it applies.

The Government has put in place a broad strategy to address the problem of mortgage arrears and family home repossessions. The primary focus of this strategy is to support those home owners in difficulty with their mortgage repayments and, in so far as possible, to avoid repossession of family homes. In recent months, the Government agreed measures to enhance awareness of and access to the insolvency framework. We expanded the mortgage-to-rent scheme, making it more accessible. In addition, my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald, also introduced the Bankruptcy (Amendment) Bill 2015, which will, among other things, reduce the normal duration of bankruptcy from three years to one year.

The Central Bank of Ireland’s code of conduct on mortgage arrears also provides protection as it sets out requirements for lenders dealing with borrowers who are facing, or in, mortgage arrears on their primary residence. It ensures that borrowers struggling to keep up mortgage repayments are treated in a fair and transparent manner by their lenders and that long-term resolution is sought by lenders with each of their borrowers.

The number of mortgages in arrears continues to fall. There are almost 121,000 restructuring arrangements in place and the vast majority of these are working. The figures demonstrate that most families can, working with their financial institutions, find an arrangement to make their mortgage commitments affordable. Active engagement by indebted borrowers with their lenders is key to achieving sustainable resolutions. I would urge borrowers in arrears who have not already done so to take that step by contacting their lender directly, or MABS, for an independent assessment of their situation and advice on available resolution options.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   There is a tsunami of homelessness in this country. Last November, the Dublin Homeless Executive provided figures according to which some 1,425 children in 677 families were in emergency accommodation. The Dublin Simon Community said that was unacceptable and shameful. Focus Ireland said that the Government had failed these families. The Master of the High Court, Mr. Edmund Honohan, criticised the banks and accused them of hounding home owners to suicide.

[Deputy Seamus Healy:  ] He criticised the fast-tracked repossession regime that the Government has allowed to be introduced in the courts. These banks are majority owned by the State and it is open to the Minister to instruct these banks to desist from repossessing family homes. In Tipperary alone, 100 families are facing repossession. The Minister should insist that this stop.

Deputy Michael Noonan:   Deputy Healy raised the very important issue of homelessness and the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Alan Kelly, brought forward proposals last year that have blunted the edge of this particular social crisis. Certainly, over the Christmas period there was less sense of a crisis with homelessness than there had been earlier in the year. The measures introduced by the Minister, Deputy Kelly, have been working and, please God, they will continue to work.

On the wider issue of repossession, which was the topic of the Deputy’s notified question, there is some interesting data published by the Central Bank. During the third quarter of 2015, legal proceedings were issued to enforce the debt security on private dwelling house mortgages in 1,687 cases. During quarter three, there were 798 cases where court proceedings concluded but arrears remained outstanding. In 329 cases, the court granted an order for repossession or the sale of the property. A total of 422 properties were taken into possession by lenders in the quarter, of which 207 were repossessed on foot of a court order. The remaining 215 were voluntarily surrendered or abandoned. The idea that tens of thousands of houses are being repossessed is just not correct. A small amount goes through the system. With the changes made by the Minister for Justice and Equality and with the Money Advice & Budgeting Service assisting directly people before the courts, I hope the number will diminish even further. It is the policy of the Government to put arrangements in place so that people can live in the family home.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   The Minister is the majority shareholder in these banks and he has obviously given permission to the banks to repossess family homes. He could equally instruct these banks not to go down this road and repossess family homes. He could call an emergency meeting of these bank boards and instruct them not to repossess family homes. I ask him to do so immediately and if bank directors do not agree, they should be sacked, as the Minister has the power to do so as a majority shareholder. This is urgent and, irrespective of the Minister’s comments, thousands of families in the country are facing homelessness because of banks in which the State has a majority shareholding. The Minister could give instructions to stop these repossessions and I ask him to do so immediately.

Deputy Michael Noonan:   There is a relationship framework, signed by my predecessors in office, with the banks and the essential component is that the political side will not interfere in commercial decisions. That is for a very good reason as we do not want to politicise the banks. It would be a very sad day for the country if the first port of call for a person seeking a loan had to be the local Deputy rather than a bank manager.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   We are not asking anybody to do that at all.

Deputy Michael Noonan:   There will be no political interference with the banks. On the question of repossessions, 207 houses were repossessed on foot of a court order, which does not equate to the tens of thousands of houses sometimes mentioned in commentary. There are 121,000 restructured mortgages on private dwellings, with a success rate of 86.6%. That means the arrangements stick in just under 87% of cases. The problem is being solved progressively. I appreciate it is very hard on people and I can appreciate that people who lost their jobs do not have money. I also appreciate the concerns and how upset people are. In a very extreme situation, the issue is being handled reasonably well by the banks

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Woman facing return to prison over refusal

Noonan: home repossessions being handled reasonably well

Minister says no political interference in bank decision, but progress being made

Irish Times  Thu, Jan 14, 2016, 11:39 Updated: Thu, Jan 14, 2016, 12:03

Marie O’Halloran

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: “I appreciate that it’s very hard on people. I appreciate people have lost their jobs and I appreciate how upset people are.”

Banks have been dealing with the issue of home repossessions “reasonably well”, according to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan.

He said “this idea of tens of thousands of houses being repossessed is just not correct”.

Mr Noonan said “I appreciate that it’s very hard on people. I appreciate people have lost their jobs and I appreciate the concerns and I appreciate how upset people are.

“But in a very extreme situation it’s been handled reasonably well by the banks.”

He was responding to Independent TD Séamus Healy who asked Mr Noonan, as the majority shareholder in AIB and its subsidiary EBS as well as the majority shareholder in Permanent TSB, “to call a meeting of the boards of the banks and to instruct them “not to repossess family homes”.

He said that if the bank directors would not agree to that then “sack those members. You have the power to do that as majority shareholder.

“There are thousands of families in this country, irrespective of what you say Minister, facing homelessness by these banks, of which the Government is a majority shareholder.”

Mr Noonan said a relationship framework had been agreed by the Government’s predecessors in office that “the political side will not interfere in commercial decisions” and they did not want to politicise the banks.

“It would be a very sad day for the country if you were looking for a loan and your first port of call had to be your local TD rather than the bank manager.”

He said 207 houses were repossessed on foot of court order and “that is not the 10s of thousands of houses that’s sometimes recited on the commentary on this”.

He said 121,000 mortgages on private dwellings had been restructured and the success rate was 86.6 per cent.

“So progressively the problem is being solved.”

Mr Noonan said statistics from the Central Bank showed that in the third quarter of 2015 (July, August and September) legal proceedings were issued in 1,687 cases of private mortgages.

“There were 798 cases where court proceedings concluded but arrears remained outstanding and the court granted a repossession order in 329 cases.

A total of 422 properties were taken into possession by lenders during the quarter and 215 were voluntary.

“It’s a very small amount to go through the system and since the changes were made by the Minister for Justice and that the money and Budgeting Advice Service are assisting people before the courts that will diminish even further,” Mr Noonan added.

 

Government Evicts Families—-Statement bySeamus Healy TD

This government is continuing to evict families from their homes.

In the Dáil last Thursday, I appealed to Minister Michael Noonan to order the banks he owns to withdraw repossession proceedings in light of the extreme housing emergency which exists.

The Minister refused.  This means that the government has given the green light to the banks they own, to continue to evict families.

Court Orders for repossession of 47 primary residences were granted at Clonmel and Nenagh Circuit Courts in the first 3 quarters of 2015. A further 8 buy-to-lets which also house families were also repossessed. Banks are now seeking a further 97 repossession orders for dwellings in Tipp, of which 32 are being sought by AIB, EBS and Permanent TSB which are owned by the Government through Michael Noonan (FG) Minister for Finance

Minister Noonan claimed that the issue was being reasonably handled by the banks. Totally misrepresenting the situation, Mr Noonan quoted the 208 orders for repossessions for the whole country for Quarter 3,2015 as representative of the scale of the problem. COURTS ONLY SIT FOR 1 OF THE 3 MONTHS IN QUARTER 3!! The Court Service Figures for the whole country for Quarters 1 and 2 are 586 and 314 respectively.

The proposed Eviction of 97 Tipperary Families Must Be Stopped Now!

 

Senior Minister Alan Kelly (Lab) and Minister of State Hayes(FG) must now intervene at Cabinet to have a Housing Emergency Declared and all repossession applications withdrawn.

In particular they must force Minister Noonan to withdraw the repossession applications by the banks he owns.

This can be done by government decision and does not require legislation.

Seamus Healy T.D.                                                                                         18/01/2016

Tel 087 2802199

Dail Record of Reply by Michael Noonan to Seamus Healy TD on Repossessions (Jan 14) is carried below together with article by Kitty Holland and other material from the Courts Service

Homelessness is an Emergency-Minister

BUT GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO EVICT FAMILIES THROUGH BANKS IT OWNS———————————————————————

293 families – and aprox 600 children have become homeless in the first 3 months of this year in  Dublin Alone

From FOCUS IRELAND

———————————————-

HOMELESSNESS UP 50% AS SOUTH DUBLIN CO COUNCIL DECLARES HOUSING EMERGENCY

“The number of people accessing emergency shelters across the State was up by almost 50 per cent in February, compared to the same month last year, according to the latest figures on homelessness.

The figures, from the Department of the Environment, show there were 5,881 people in emergency accommodation in February, which represents a year-on-year increase of 49 per cent. Among them were 1,881 children, which represents an increase of 101 per cent.

Simon Communities of Ireland spokeswoman Niamh Randall said the figures were shocking and demonstrate that existing measures to tackle homelessness are failing.”-Irish Times 14/04/2016

Open letter to Alan Kelly – ‘Don’t blame the housing crisis on the Constitution’

Edmund Honohan     Master of the High Court

PUBLISHED03/04/2016 | 02:30

Sunday Indepenent

In an open letter to Alan Kelly, the environment minister, the Master of the High Court Edmund Honohan says the Constitution cannot be used as cover for political inaction on the housing crisis

Dear Minister Kelly,

It is appropriate that you have, in this centenary year, called for a debate about property rights in the Constitution. Faced with repeated assertions about how the right to property is legally watertight, politicians need to recover control which they have ceded to the lawyers. To do so they need to understand that the position is a lot clearer than they have been led to believe.

Echoes of 1916: The Constitution in effect provides that the State may expropriate private property if the Oireachtas decides that to do so is for the “common good”. Road widening is a good example.

Option A. At the moment there are long waiting lists for housing and the private rental market is unable to provide dwellings at affordable rents.

Consequently, if the Oireachtas is of the view that the State should itself (or its local authorities) provide public housing “in the Common Good”, the State can (and probably, legally, should) decide not to wait the two/three years needed to build social housing but instead to immediately acquire houses now in private hands.

If the owners of these refuse to sell, acquisition can be by compulsory purchase with full compensation assessed by the arbitrator.

It so happens that there is a stock of such housing which has recently been bought by “vulture” property investment funds from Anglo, Irish Nationwide, Nama etc. at knockdown prices. “Compensation” for these funds would be that they would be repaid the price they paid for the housing portfolios. That is the extent of their Constitutional entitlement.

Option B. On the other hand, the Oireachtas might be concerned to enhance tenants’ rights at the expense of the landlords. Rent controls and the like are also a form of expropriation if their effect is to rewrite contracts already operational. And the “common good” rationale for such interference with contracts is not as clearly unarguable as with Option A.

Option A wins hands down and the timing is right.

Cue now the lawyers’ alternative analysis: that the Constitution enshrines marketplace rules; that the Supreme Court will determine what is the Common Good. Publish the Attorney General’s advice to the Government and have a fully informed debate.

But given that the Supreme Court has already decided, in 2000, that the provision of affordable housing is an objective which is “socially just and required by the common good”, what we do about it now is a political decision, not a legal one.

The Constitution cannot be used as cover for political inaction.

Sunday Independent

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Dail Debate: Government Knowingly and Deliberately Causing Homelessness-Seamus Healy TD

Deputy Seamus Healy:Information on Seamus HealyZoom on Seamus HealyThe outgoing Government, knowingly and deliberately, created and caused homelessness. I say this because the State owns Allied Irish Banks, Permanent TSB and the Educational Building Society. The Minister and current caretaker Administration are allowing these financial institutions to evict people from their homes. They can stop such evictions by telling the banks to stop causing homelessness. No legislation is required to do so because the Government, through the Ministers for the Environment, Community and Local Government and Finance, could issue a simple directive to stop financial institutions from making people homeless.

The National Asset Management Agency which is owned by the State is creating homelessness by evicting people and selling residences and apartments to vulture funds that are engaging in evictions. The State could also stop this practice by issuing a simple instruction to NAMA. I reiterate that the State is deliberately creating homelessness and should stop doing so immediately.

I will refer briefly to the Tánaiste’s reference to the housing assistance payment. The HAP scheme is an outrageous rip-off of tenants, most, if not all, of whom must pay differential rent to their local authority and a top-up to their landlord, which is often as much as €50 per week. The scheme should be stopped immediately.

If we are to address the homelessness and housing crisis, the Government and the new Dáil must declare a housing emergency immediately. Otherwise, we will not be able to deal with the problem. The Government should also take up the offer made by the credit unions to provide between €5 billion and €8 billion to help address the housing problem.

Deputy Mick Barry:Information on Mick BarryZoom on Mick BarryI agree with the points made by Deputy Seamus Healy. I will make several points about the scandal that recently unfolded on the Eden estate in Blackrock in Cork city where tenants in 35 apartments received letters earlier this year terminating their leases and giving notice to quit. Many of them had lived in the properties in question for years. The letters were issued by Grant Thornton, the receiver in charge of 127 apartments on the estate, which was appointed by the State-owned IBRC in November 2010. This is the latest chapter in the saga of Anglo Irish Bank and the Irish Nationwide Building Society.

KPMG has been the Government appointed liquidator of IBRC since January 2013. As instructed by the Fine Gael-Labour Party Government, the liquidator’s only interest is in maximising the financial return to the State from the carcases of Anglo Irish Bank and the Irish Nationwide Building Society and it has no regard for the social impact of doing so. In this sense, it is an even more heartless and anti-social arm of the State than NAMA.

As of January 2016, IBRC had netted €2.1 billion from sales such as those envisaged on the Eden estate. This sum has not been used to address the housing crisis because most of it has been ring-fenced for distribution among IBRC’s creditors which include Anglo Irish Bank subordinated bondholders. Some of the money is intended to be used for payment in full of “certain employee and pension claims prior to the date of liquidation”. Does this include pension payments to former members of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society management such as Mr. David Drumm and Mr. Michael Fingleton?

———————————————————

NAMA (Really the Minister for Finance) Worsening Crisis Through Sale of Homes to Vulture Funds.

Government also evicting Families through Banks it Owns

McPeake Auctioneers (Tyrellstown in Irish Times March 16)

“The supply into the market from the builders is much lower than the market needs, and that is because of a number of reasons.

“The first is that the control of sites into the market is being controlled by a much smaller pool of players. The big developers who were there all ended up in Nama or a financial institution.

“The financial institutions have all now basically all sold off their loans and Nama is selling off the balance. All of those loans have gone basically to these venture capital funds.

“It’s a problem that’s been created, in particular, Nama’s desire to do away with Nama, to be able to say ‘Nama’s now gone, isn’t that great’, but what you’ve really done is transferred the whole stock of development land and a considerable number of private residential properties, that may be rented or may not be rented, into the hands of people outside the country.”

High Court Master, Edmund Honahan, urges State to ‘nationalise’ repossessed homes

The Master of the High Court has called on the Government to “nationalise” repossessed homes and buy-to-lets that banks have sold to speculators and investment trusts and use them as social housing.

http://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/property-mortgages/high-court-master-urges-state-to-nationalise-repossessed-homes-34282536.html

Homelessness is an Emergency-Minister

BUT GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO EVICT FAMILIES THROUGH BANKS IT OWNS

Noonan Pic

It’s no Joke But More Tommy Cooper than Penn and Teller!

Irish Times Report on Dáil Discussion Further Down

REPOSSESSIONS: NOONAN’S  MASTER CLASS–Paddy Healy

SPINNING TO MISLEAD ON REPOSSESSIONS IN THE DÁIL!

It is No Joke but Tommy Cooper Strikes Again! 

State Owned Banks, AIB, EBS,PERMANENT TSB, are seeking repossession of homes by court order throughout the country.

Seamus Healy TD  recently asked Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in the Dáil to instruct these banks to desist from this.

Mr Noonan refused and stated that  “In a very extreme situation, the issue is being handled reasonably well by the banks.”

In the course of his reply Minister Noonan quoted figures from a Central Bank report which stated that in Quarter 3(July, August, September)  207 properties were repossessed on foot of a court order. “The idea that tens of thousands of houses are being repossessed is just not correct” he said.

This statement is entirely deceptive though there is nothing technically incorrect in it. It is not just that he attempts to minimise the awful trauma for 207 families which are losing their homes. A key tactic of the “spinner to deceive” is the omission of key information.

Noonan’s 207 court orders for repossession are for 1 month only!!! Circuit courts do not sit in August and September. Hence the “Quarter 3” figures are for the month of July only!

 

The full information provided by the Courts Service and reported by Kitty Holland in the Irish Times Last November is: ” Of the 1,088 court orders for repossession made in the three quarters of 2015 up to September 30,  758 were for primary homes, 131 were for buy-to-lets and 199 were for “other” dwellings”. “-Irish Times

Courts Service: Repossession Orders in Circuit Courts 2015

Q1       314,   Q2   586,  Q3   188

There was a huge increase in possessions in the April to June period. Mr Noonan omits this information, and picks the figure for Q3 which he then implies is typical though it contains one month( July)  figures only! The reason the Central Bank figure for Q3 (207) is slightly above the Courts Service figure (188) may be that the Central Bank figure contains High Court orders in addition to the Circuit Court orders supplied by the Courts Service.

In time honoured fashion “Spinner Noonan”, to cover his tracks claims that it is others who are misrepresenting the situation! The idea that tens of thousands of houses are being repossessed is just not correct” he said. Additionally, this allows him to suggest that the repossession problem is really minimal and not nearly as bad as is being represented.

No journalist or serious person has spoken about “tens of thousands” of repossessions. 1,088 orders in the first 3 quarters of 2015 is already a disastrous figure!!!

For example,  Kitty Holland, Irish Times Nov 12, 2015. says

: “Banks have sought to repossess almost 4,500 homes  since the start of the year up to September 30, the latest figures from the Courts Service of Ireland indicate”-Kitty Holland, Irish Times Nov 12, 2015.

This is in line with the Central Bank Report: During the third quarter of 2015, legal proceedings were issued to enforce the debt security on private dwelling house mortgages in 1,687 cases (Central Bank Report).

Noonan invents the “tens of thousands” in order to minimize a problem which is in fact already disastrous-“the oldest trick in the book” of the spinner.

STATE DIRECTION OF BANKS IS UNTHINKABLE!-Noonan 

The right of human beings to stay in their own homes is a most important right. The vast majority of people in mortgage difficulty are entirely blameless for their own predicament. They were setting up homes at a particular time. They may have had to move jobs or have been transferred in their job at a particular time. They were failed by the state and by its organs such as the central bank and the financial regulator and by the government of the day.

But Mr Noonan believes that there are superior rights and superior interests and that the vindication of the rights of householders to stay in their own home  is a secondary consideration even if families must be placed in hotel rooms or hostels and may be dispersed.

Mr Noonan: “Notwithstanding the fact that the State is a shareholder in these institutions, I must ensure that these banks are run on a commercial and independent basis to ensure the value of the banks as an asset to the State”

Finance Minister Noonan has already made clear his intention to sell the state owned banks to private investors. Clearly, he is concerned to maximise the sale value of the banks.

Mr Noonan voted in the Dáil to compensate in full international investors who risked their funds in Irish Banks. Money was borrowed from international financiers to pay this compensation. Now Minister Noonan and the FG/Labour Government are using the banks to collect money originally paid to international investors in the same banks from the Irish population. Accordingly, Banks are allowed to charge interest rates to all Irish borrowers which are well above average rates in other European countries within the Eurozone. The value of houses in Ireland has now risen. Hence the huge rise in repossessions between Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 of 2015.

The Priority of Government is that the banks “be fattened up for privatisation”

Mr Noonan also tries to give the impression that he has no power to give instructions to state owned banks.

He says:  “There is a relationship framework, signed by my predecessors in office, with the banks and the essential component is that the political side will not interfere in commercial decisions “

Many listening may have got the impression that Mr Noonan had no power to instruct the government owned banks. The old omission trick! Mr Noonan omitted the words “voluntary” from “voluntary relationship framework”  -And he blames his “predecessors”-Fianna Fáil- as well!

The truth is that Mr Noonan can withdraw from the “relationship framework” at any time. He has taken a political decision to continue to honour it-and to allow the banks to evict Irish families!

He then drags up the notion that stopping state owned banks from evicting people would lead to people “applying to their local TD for a loan” and that the notion of state owned and directed banks was preposterous! Of course there have been state owned banks in Ireland for decades and there have been such in other European countries for even longer. There are well tried mechanisms for dealing with the problem of people applying to politicians for loans.

Noonan uses the image to cover up the responsibility of the government for evicting people on the one hand and extorting money to pay off international lenders from mortgage holders and small businesses on the other.. Pontius Pilate Lives!!!

Mortgage Arrears Problem is Being Solved Progressively-Noonan

Noonan gives the impression that the mortgage arrears problem is being progressively solved through helpful measures put in place by his government. The truth is that the problem of the banks is being solved by repossessing homes and extending mortgages at exorbitant interest rates for a greater number of years.

Crafty Capitalist Representative

Michael Noonan is a very crafty political representative of the Irish super-rich, Irish big business and of foreign big business. He is a master of spinning to deceive. He is assisted in this by the editorial writers and by the media political and economic correspondents. It would be simple for these to expose him but they have a vested in not doing so!

In fairness Kitty Holland in the Irish Times has accurately reported the rate of actual repossessions and court applications for repossession and columnist Fintan O’Toole has exposed his “Tommy Cooper”style deception on tax equity in favour of the very rich.

Noonan: home repossessions being handled reasonably well

Minister says no political interference in bank decision, but progress being made

Irish Times  Thu, Jan 14, 2016, 11:39 Updated: Thu, Jan 14, 2016, 12:03

Marie O’Halloran

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: “I appreciate that it’s very hard on people. I appreciate people have lost their jobs and I appreciate how upset people are.”

Banks have been dealing with the issue of home repossessions “reasonably well”, according to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan.

He said “this idea of tens of thousands of houses being repossessed is just not correct”.

Mr Noonan said “I appreciate that it’s very hard on people. I appreciate people have lost their jobs and I appreciate the concerns and I appreciate how upset people are.

“But in a very extreme situation it’s been handled reasonably well by the banks.”

He was responding to Independent TD Séamus Healy who asked Mr Noonan, as the majority shareholder in AIB and its subsidiary EBS as well as the majority shareholder in Permanent TSB, “to call a meeting of the boards of the banks and to instruct them “not to repossess family homes”.

He said that if the bank directors would not agree to that then “sack those members. You have the power to do that as majority shareholder.

“There are thousands of families in this country, irrespective of what you say Minister, facing homelessness by these banks, of which the Government is a majority shareholder.”

Mr Noonan said a relationship framework had been agreed by the Government’s predecessors in office that “the political side will not interfere in commercial decisions” and they did not want to politicise the banks.

“It would be a very sad day for the country if you were looking for a loan and your first port of call had to be your local TD rather than the bank manager.”

He said 207 houses were repossessed on foot of court order and “that is not the 10s of thousands of houses that’s sometimes recited on the commentary on this”.

He said 121,000 mortgages on private dwellings had been restructured and the success rate was 86.6 per cent.

“So progressively the problem is being solved.”

Mr Noonan said statistics from the Central Bank showed that in the third quarter of 2015 (July, August and September) legal proceedings were issued in 1,687 cases of private mortgages.

“There were 798 cases where court proceedings concluded but arrears remained outstanding and the court granted a repossession order in 329 cases.

A total of 422 properties were taken into possession by lenders during the quarter and 215 were voluntary.

“It’s a very small amount to go through the system and since the changes were made by the Minister for Justice and that the money and Budgeting Advice Service are assisting people before the courts that will diminish even further,” Mr Noonan added.

 

Government Evicts Families—-Statement bySeamus Healy TD

This government is continuing to evict families from their homes.

In the Dáil last Thursday, I appealed to Minister Michael Noonan to order the banks he owns to withdraw repossession proceedings in light of the extreme housing emergency which exists.

The Minister refused.  This means that the government has given the green light to the banks they own, to continue to evict families.

Court Orders for repossession of 47 primary residences were granted at Clonmel and Nenagh Circuit Courts in the first 3 quarters of 2015. A further 8 buy-to-lets which also house families were also repossessed. Banks are now seeking a further 97 repossession orders for dwellings in Tipp, of which 32 are being sought by AIB, EBS and Permanent TSB which are owned by the Government through Michael Noonan (FG) Minister for Finance

Minister Noonan claimed that the issue was being reasonably handled by the banks. Totally misrepresenting the situation, Mr Noonan quoted the 208 orders for repossessions for the whole country for Quarter 3,2015 as representative of the scale of the problem. COURTS ONLY SIT FOR 1 OF THE 3 MONTHS IN QUARTER 3!! The Court Service Figures for the whole country for Quarters 1 and 2 are 586 and 314 respectively.

The proposed Eviction of 97 Tipperary Families Must Be Stopped Now!

 

Senior Minister Alan Kelly (Lab) and Minister of State Hayes(FG) must now intervene at Cabinet to have a Housing Emergency Declared and all repossession applications withdrawn.

In particular they must force Minister Noonan to withdraw the repossession applications by the banks he owns.

This can be done by government decision and does not require legislation.

Seamus Healy T.D.                                                                                         18/01/2016

Tel 087 2802199

Dail Record of Reply by Michael Noonan to Seamus Healy TD on Repossessions (Jan 14) is carried below together with article by Kitty Holland and other material from the Courts Service

Homelessness is an Emergency-Minister

BUT GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO EVICT FAMILIES THROUGH BANKS IT OWNS

REPOSSESSIONS: NOONAN’S  MASTER CLASS–Paddy Healy

SPINNING TO MISLEAD ON REPOSSESSIONS IN THE DÁIL!

It is No Joke but Tommy Cooper Strikes Again! 

State Owned Banks, AIB, EBS,PERMANENT TSB, are seeking repossession of homes by court order throughout the country.

Seamus Healy TD  recently asked Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in the Dáil to instruct these banks to desist from this.

Mr Noonan refused and stated that  “In a very extreme situation, the issue is being handled reasonably well by the banks.”

In the course of his reply Minister Noonan quoted figures from a Central Bank report which stated that in Quarter 3(July, August, September)  207 properties were repossessed on foot of a court order. “The idea that tens of thousands of houses are being repossessed is just not correct” he said.

This statement is entirely deceptive though there is nothing technically incorrect in it. It is not just that he attempts to minimise the awful trauma for 207 families which are losing their homes. A key tactic of the “spinner to deceive” is the omission of key information.

Noonan’s 207 court orders for repossession are for 1 month only!!! Circuit courts do not sit in August and September. Hence the “Quarter 3” figures are for the month of July only!

 

The full information provided by the Courts Service and reported by Kitty Holland in the Irish Times Last November is: ” Of the 1,088 court orders for repossession made in the three quarters of 2015 up to September 30,  758 were for primary homes, 131 were for buy-to-lets and 199 were for “other” dwellings”. “-Irish Times

Courts Service: Repossession Orders in Circuit Courts 2015

Q1       314,   Q2   586,  Q3   188

There was a huge increase in possessions in the April to June period. Mr Noonan omits this information, and picks the figure for Q3 which he then implies is typical though it contains one month( July)  figures only! The reason the Central Bank figure for Q3 (207) is slightly above the Courts Service figure (188) may be that the Central Bank figure contains High Court orders in addition to the Circuit Court orders supplied by the Courts Service.

In time honoured fashion “Spinner Noonan”, to cover his tracks claims that it is others who are misrepresenting the situation! The idea that tens of thousands of houses are being repossessed is just not correct” he said. Additionally, this allows him to suggest that the repossession problem is really minimal and not nearly as bad as is being represented.

No journalist or serious person has spoken about “tens of thousands” of repossessions. 1,088 orders in the first 3 quarters of 2015 is already a disastrous figure!!!

For example,  Kitty Holland, Irish Times Nov 12, 2015. says

: “Banks have sought to repossess almost 4,500 homes  since the start of the year up to September 30, the latest figures from the Courts Service of Ireland indicate”-Kitty Holland, Irish Times Nov 12, 2015.

This is in line with the Central Bank Report: During the third quarter of 2015, legal proceedings were issued to enforce the debt security on private dwelling house mortgages in 1,687 cases (Central Bank Report).

Noonan invents the “tens of thousands” in order to minimize a problem which is in fact already disastrous-“the oldest trick in the book” of the spinner.

STATE DIRECTION OF BANKS IS UNTHINKABLE!-Noonan

 

The right of human beings to stay in their own homes is a most important right. The vast majority of people in mortgage difficulty are entirely blameless for their own predicament. They were setting up homes at a particular time. They may have had to move jobs or have been transferred in their job at a particular time. They were failed by the state and by its organs such as the central bank and the financial regulator and by the government of the day.

But Mr Noonan believes that there are superior rights and superior interests and that the vindication of the rights of householders to stay in their own home  is a secondary consideration even if families must be placed in hotel rooms or hostels and may be dispersed.

Mr Noonan: “Notwithstanding the fact that the State is a shareholder in these institutions, I must ensure that these banks are run on a commercial and independent basis to ensure the value of the banks as an asset to the State”

Finance Minister Noonan has already made clear his intention to sell the state owned banks to private investors. Clearly, he is concerned to maximise the sale value of the banks.

Mr Noonan voted in the Dáil to compensate in full international investors who risked their funds in Irish Banks. Money was borrowed from international financiers to pay this compensation. Now Minister Noonan and the FG/Labour Government are using the banks to collect money originally paid to international investors in the same banks from the Irish population. Accordingly, Banks are allowed to charge interest rates to all Irish borrowers which are well above average rates in other European countries within the Eurozone. The value of houses in Ireland has now risen. Hence the huge rise in repossessions between Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 of 2015.

The Priority of Government is that the banks “be fattened up for privatisation”

Mr Noonan also tries to give the impression that he has no power to give instructions to state owned banks.

He says:  “There is a relationship framework, signed by my predecessors in office, with the banks and the essential component is that the political side will not interfere in commercial decisions “

Many listening may have got the impression that Mr Noonan had no power to instruct the government owned banks. The old omission trick! Mr Noonan omitted the words “voluntary” from “voluntary relationship framework”  -And he blames his “predecessors”-Fianna Fáil- as well!

The truth is that Mr Noonan can withdraw from the “relationship framework” at any time. He has taken a political decision to continue to honour it-and to allow the banks to evict Irish families!

He then drags up the notion that stopping state owned banks from evicting people would lead to people “applying to their local TD for a loan” and that the notion of state owned and directed banks was preposterous! Of course there have been state owned banks in Ireland for decades and there have been such in other European countries for even longer. There are well tried mechanisms for dealing with the problem of people applying to politicians for loans.

Noonan uses the image to cover up the responsibility of the government for evicting people on the one hand and extorting money to pay off international lenders from mortgage holders and small businesses on the other.. Pontius Pilate Lives!!!

Mortgage Arrears Problem is Being Solved Progressively-Noonan

Noonan gives the impression that the mortgage arrears problem is being progressively solved through helpful measures put in place by his government. The truth is that the problem of the banks is being solved by repossessing homes and extending mortgages at exorbitant interest rates for a greater number of years.

Crafty Capitalist Representative

Michael Noonan is a very crafty political representative of the Irish super-rich, Irish big business and of foreign big business. He is a master of spinning to deceive. He is assisted in this by the editorial writers and by the media political and economic correspondents. It would be simple for these to expose him but they have a vested in not doing so!

In fairness Kitty Holland in the Irish Times has accurately reported the rate of actual repossessions and court applications for repossession and columnist Fintan O’Toole has exposed his “Tommy Cooper”style deception on tax equity in favour of the very rich.

Repossessions of Dwellings by Court  Order—-From Courts Service

(Q2)April to June 2015

  1. Residence               buy-to-let               other                    Total
383 97 106 586

(Q1)Jan –march   2015

233 29 52 314
         

Q3 (July to September)                           142            5             41                188

Q3 Central Bank                         207 (“properties”)were repossessed on foot of a court order.

Q1,Q2,Q3                                                758                131                   199                 1088

The data, released to The Irish Times, also shows 1,088 repossession orders were granted by the courts in the first nine months of the year, almost 70 per cent more than the 644 granted in the same period last year and 350 per cent more than the 240 granted in the period in 2013.

Of the 1,088 orders made, 758 were for primary homes, 131 were for buy-to-lets and 199 were for “other” dwellings. –Kitty Holland Irish Times  Nov 12

“These  cases (court orders) in  the  statistics  are  not  the only cases in which a financial  institution is foreclosing.  The vast majority of mortgages contain a foreclosure clause which becomes operative, without the need for  a court order, if there is any failure in payment of instalments.

Accordingly,  only  figures  supplied by the credit institutions would disclose  the  overall number of properties being recovered or sold by credit institutions.”-Statement From Courts Service August 6,2015

Noonan in Dáil   Jan 14

Central Bank. During the third quarter of 2015, legal proceedings were issued to enforce the debt security on private dwelling house mortgages in 1,687 cases. During quarter three, there were 798 cases where court proceedings concluded but arrears remained outstanding. In 329 cases, the court granted an order for repossession or the sale of the property. A total of 422 properties were taken into possession by lenders in the quarter, of which 207 were repossessed on foot of a court order. The remaining 215 were voluntarily surrendered or abandoned.

Ml Noonan   “On the question of repossessions, 207 houses were repossessed on foot of a court order(in 2015-ph), which does not equate to the tens of thousands of houses sometimes mentioned in commentary”. Jan 14

More than 7,000 dwellings targeted by lenders up to 2015, says Courts Service

Thu, Nov 12, 2015, 01:00

Kitty Holland

Some 889 applications for repossession were refused by the courts so far this year. Photograph: Getty Images

Banks have sought to repossess almost 4,500 homes since the start of the year, the latest figures from the Courts Service of Ireland indicate.

These are in addition to the 7,100 dwellings lenders had already moved to repossess by January 1st, 2015.

The figures, covering the first nine months of the year, show lenders lodged 4,440 civil bills for repossession across the State’s 26 circuit courts.

Some 3,638 (82 per cent) of these are for primary homes, 89 (2 per cent) are for buy-to-lets with 713 (16 per cent) for “other” dwellings.

However, the number of bills lodged is down compared with the same period last year when 6,420 bills were lodged, indicating a possible levelling off in repossession activity by the banks.

The data, released to The Irish Times, also shows 1,088 repossession orders were granted by the courts in the first nine months of the year, almost 70 per cent more than the 644 granted in the same period last year and 350 per cent more than the 240 granted in the period in 2013.

Of the 1,088 orders made, 758 were for primary homes, 131 were for buy-to-lets and 199 were for “other” dwellings.

Dail Record   Jan 14

Home Repossession

  1. Deputy Seamus Healy   asked the Minister for Finance   if he will insist that Allied Irish Bank and its subsidiary the Educational Building Society and Permanent TSB, which are in majority State ownership, desist from seeking repossession of family homes through the Courts and withdraw all such existing applications before the Courts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1426/16]

Deputy Seamus Healy:   Allied Irish Banks, the Educational Building Society and Permanent TSB are in majority State ownership. They are adding to homelessness and the housing crisis by repossessing family homes. I am asking the Minister, as the majority shareholder, to instruct the banks to desist from this practice.

Deputy Michael Noonan:   I would like to thank Deputy Healy for raising this question. As he is aware, I have no direct function in the relationship between the customer and PTSB, or AIB and its subsidiary EBS. Notwithstanding the fact that the State is a shareholder in these institutions, I must ensure that these banks are run on a commercial and independent basis to ensure the value of the banks as an asset to the State.

Decisions taken by the banks are a matter for the board and management of the relevant institution. The relationship framework agreements define the arm’s-length nature of the relationship between the State and the banks in which the State has an investment. The banks are therefore entitled to pursue all options open to them in order to realise the value of their impaired assets, within the significant constraints imposed by their regulator, the Central Bank and the law as it applies.

The Government has put in place a broad strategy to address the problem of mortgage arrears and family home repossessions. The primary focus of this strategy is to support those home owners in difficulty with their mortgage repayments and, in so far as possible, to avoid repossession of family homes. In recent months, the Government agreed measures to enhance awareness of and access to the insolvency framework. We expanded the mortgage-to-rent scheme, making it more accessible. In addition, my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald, also introduced the Bankruptcy (Amendment) Bill 2015, which will, among other things, reduce the normal duration of bankruptcy from three years to one year.

The Central Bank of Ireland’s code of conduct on mortgage arrears also provides protection as it sets out requirements for lenders dealing with borrowers who are facing, or in, mortgage arrears on their primary residence. It ensures that borrowers struggling to keep up mortgage repayments are treated in a fair and transparent manner by their lenders and that long-term resolution is sought by lenders with each of their borrowers.

The number of mortgages in arrears continues to fall. There are almost 121,000 restructuring arrangements in place and the vast majority of these are working. The figures demonstrate that most families can, working with their financial institutions, find an arrangement to make their mortgage commitments affordable. Active engagement by indebted borrowers with their lenders is key to achieving sustainable resolutions. I would urge borrowers in arrears who have not already done so to take that step by contacting their lender directly, or MABS, for an independent assessment of their situation and advice on available resolution options.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   There is a tsunami of homelessness in this country. Last November, the Dublin Homeless Executive provided figures according to which some 1,425 children in 677 families were in emergency accommodation. The Dublin Simon Community said that was unacceptable and shameful. Focus Ireland said that the Government had failed these families. The Master of the High Court, Mr. Edmund Honohan, criticised the banks and accused them of hounding home owners to suicide.

[Deputy Seamus Healy:  ] He criticised the fast-tracked repossession regime that the Government has allowed to be introduced in the courts. These banks are majority owned by the State and it is open to the Minister to instruct these banks to desist from repossessing family homes. In Tipperary alone, 100 families are facing repossession. The Minister should insist that this stop.

Deputy Michael Noonan:   Deputy Healy raised the very important issue of homelessness and the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Alan Kelly, brought forward proposals last year that have blunted the edge of this particular social crisis. Certainly, over the Christmas period there was less sense of a crisis with homelessness than there had been earlier in the year. The measures introduced by the Minister, Deputy Kelly, have been working and, please God, they will continue to work.

On the wider issue of repossession, which was the topic of the Deputy’s notified question, there is some interesting data published by the Central Bank. During the third quarter of 2015, legal proceedings were issued to enforce the debt security on private dwelling house mortgages in 1,687 cases. During quarter three, there were 798 cases where court proceedings concluded but arrears remained outstanding. In 329 cases, the court granted an order for repossession or the sale of the property. A total of 422 properties were taken into possession by lenders in the quarter, of which 207 were repossessed on foot of a court order. The remaining 215 were voluntarily surrendered or abandoned. The idea that tens of thousands of houses are being repossessed is just not correct. A small amount goes through the system. With the changes made by the Minister for Justice and Equality and with the Money Advice & Budgeting Service assisting directly people before the courts, I hope the number will diminish even further. It is the policy of the Government to put arrangements in place so that people can live in the family home.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   The Minister is the majority shareholder in these banks and he has obviously given permission to the banks to repossess family homes. He could equally instruct these banks not to go down this road and repossess family homes. He could call an emergency meeting of these bank boards and instruct them not to repossess family homes. I ask him to do so immediately and if bank directors do not agree, they should be sacked, as the Minister has the power to do so as a majority shareholder. This is urgent and, irrespective of the Minister’s comments, thousands of families in the country are facing homelessness because of banks in which the State has a majority shareholding. The Minister could give instructions to stop these repossessions and I ask him to do so immediately.

Deputy Michael Noonan:   There is a relationship framework, signed by my predecessors in office, with the banks and the essential component is that the political side will not interfere in commercial decisions. That is for a very good reason as we do not want to politicise the banks. It would be a very sad day for the country if the first port of call for a person seeking a loan had to be the local Deputy rather than a bank manager.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   We are not asking anybody to do that at all.

Deputy Michael Noonan:   There will be no political interference with the banks. On the question of repossessions, 207 houses were repossessed on foot of a court order, which does not equate to the tens of thousands of houses sometimes mentioned in commentary. There are 121,000 restructured mortgages on private dwellings, with a success rate of 86.6%. That means the arrangements stick in just under 87% of cases. The problem is being solved progressively. I appreciate it is very hard on people and I can appreciate that people who lost their jobs do not have money. I also appreciate the concerns and how upset people are. In a very extreme situation, the issue is being handled reasonably well by the banks

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Woman facing return to prison over refusal to hand over her home to bank

Claire Knowles was lawfully jailed for contempt of court order, High Court judge rules

Mary Carolan      Irish Times Dec 15

Claire Knowles (56) of Castlejane, Glanmire, Co Cork, who will remain on bail until Wednesday evening after which time she will return to Limerick Prison unless she has purged her contempt of the possession order. Photograph: Collins Court

A High Court judge has ruled a woman was lawfully jailed for contempt of a court order requiring her hand over possession of her home to a bank.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys told Claire Knowles she may remain on bail until 7pm on Wednesday after which time she will return to Limerick Prison unless she has purged her contempt of the possession order in the interim.

Ms Knowles was jailed by a judge at Cork Circuit Court on December 8th for contempt of a court order of January 2014 requiring she hand over possession of her home near Glanmire, Co Cork, to Bank of Ireland.

She was freed on conditional bail on December 10th pending the outcome of the inquiry, under Article 40 of the Constitution, into the legality of her detention.

Giving his decision on Tuesday having heard arguments by Ms Knowles and the State, Mr Justice Humphreys said he was bound by other court decisions concerning Article 40 inquiries and, in all the circumstances, must rule the detention is lawful.

He will give a written judgment outlining his reasons for that decision at a later stage.

The contempt application was brought by solicitors representing Bank of Ireland arising from a mortgage taken out with ICS Building Society on Ms Knowles home at The Pines, Castlejayne Woods, Glanmire, Co Cork.

An order for possession of that property was made by the Circuit Court in January 2014 and the High Court dismissed an appeal against that order in July 2014. Ms Knowles later got an order from the Master of the High Court extending the time effectively for a second appeal.

Attachment and committal proceedings were brought last October against Ms Knowles for contempt over her failure to hand over possession and were adjourned to December 8th when Cork Circuit Court directed her detention in Limerick Prison.

Ms Knowles was freed on conditional bail on December 10th pending the outcome of the High Court inquiry, initiated the previous day under Article 40 of the Constitution, into the lawfulness of her detention.

In his decision today, Mr Justice Humphreys commended Ms Knowles for the manner in which she presented her case but said his hands were tied by various rulings which meant he could not direct her release.

Among arguments advanced by her to support her claim that her detention was invalid, she argued there was an error in the title of the committal warrant in that it was in the name of ICS when it was lawyers representing BOI who sought her committal. She also argued she was wrongly refused an adjournment of the contempt application so as to allow her try and get legal representation.

Remy Farrell SC, for the governor of Limerick Prison, argued the net issue in the Article 40 inquiry was if Ms Knowles was denied an opportunity of getting legal representation, and it was his case she was not.

The transcript of proceedings in the Circuit Court showed Ms Knowles chose to proceed without legal representation after clearly considering matters over the lunch break on December 8th, he said. The Circuit Court judge had made the jailing order after Ms Knowles refused to give an undertaking to leave her home and she was “manifestly in contempt”, counsel said.

On that date, the transcript of the hearing referred to counsel for the bank saying Ms Knowles was still in the house and she was in “flagrant” breach of the order.

The Circuit Court judge warned Ms Knowles she was at strong risk of going to jail, should get legal advice and the case would not be adjourned unless she undertook to abide by the court order to leave the house.

It was “very clear” what she had to do and legal advice would not have altered that. It seemed clear Ms Knowles later decided to represent herself as she was entitled to do but she must take the consequences of that.

The Circuit Court judge had said he did not believe she was serious about getting out of the house, he would jail her and refuse a stay, given the “brazen” contempt.

In her arguments, Ms Knowles said she is being “turned into a criminal out of civil litigation” and these are “not ordinary times”.

She said the banks had had months to get their paperwork in order in her case but had failed to do so until much later and then used the name of a “non-entity” in these proceedings. Lawyers for the bank were unable to answer her when she had raised points about the delay in amending the title of the case, she added.

She also said she had been refused legal aid for the Circuit Court proceedings as she did not know how to get it and was given an hour to do so.

“I was given no choice,” she said.

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http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/homes-and-property/the-debt-doctors-there-s-a-black-cloud-over-a-lot-of-people-1.2463335#.Vmw231bKiG0.mailto

Claire Knowles, Resisting Eviction, Released On Bail by High Court as large number of supporters attend court

PLEASE,Could a Legal Team Offer to Represent Her Pro Bono Publico?

It is grossly Unfair That She Should Be Forced to Represent Herself.

Be there again  NEXT MONDAY!

From Irish Times Breaking News

A woman jailed for contempt of a court order directing she hand over possession of her Co Cork home to a bank has been freed on bail by the High Court.

Claire Knowles (56) was jailed on Tuesday over her failure to comply with orders obtained by Bank of Ireland over the property at The Pines, Castlejayne Woods, Glamire.

She was brought to Limerick Prison where she was held until she was brought before the High Court on Thursday for an inquiry into the legality of her detention.

The inquiry, under Article 40 of the Constitution, was sought on her behalf by anti-eviction campaigner Ben Gilroy, who said he had assisted Ms Knowles in previous court cases relating to the repossession.

Following a hearing, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys ordered her release on her own bail of €100, with a condition she stay away from her home, pending full determination of her legal challenge.

She is to come back to court next Monday.

The judge ruled the governor of Limerick Prison was obliged to go behind the reasons for her detention. To do that, the governor would have to apply to make Bank of Ireland a notice party in this case, the judge said.

In those circumstances, the judge adjourned the inquiry to allow that occur.  In the meantime, he granted bail to Ms Knowles who was supported in court by a large number of people.

Earlier, Remy Farrell SC, for the prison governor, said his client had no relationship, legal or otherwise, with Bank of Ireland.

He could not compel witnesses to attend court or provide documentation in order to justify the reasons for committing her to prison, counsel said.

Ms Knowles told the court she was too traumatised to make the case because she had been in Limerick Prison and wanted Mr Gilroy to do it for her.

The judge ruled it was established case law only the person detained could make the arguments before the court or could employ a qualified lawyer to do so.

Following an adjournment to allow the judge consider the law on representation in such cases,  Ms Knowles said she was a little more composed and would present it herself.

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Support Release of brave Claire Knowles From Jail To-morrow

High Court 10.30 tomorrow Thursday Nov 10

Jailed for Refusing to Hand Over Her Home to Bank Of Ireland

 Inquiry on legality of woman’s detention for  contempt ordered

Claire Knowles jailed over contempt of direction to

hand over possession of home to bank

aIrish Timesbout 4 hours ago Updated: about 3 hours ago

Mary Carolan

High Court judge has directed an inquiry into the legality of the detention inLimerick Prison of a woman for contempt of a Circuit Court order directing she hand over possession of her home to a bank.

Ben Gilroy, of Direct Democracy Ireland, applied on Wednesday to Mr JusticeMax Barrett for the inquiry following the imprisonment the previous day ofClaire Knowles (56), who lives with her son at Castlejayne, Glanmire, Cork.

During the application, Mr Gilroy said there was “huge confusion” over possession orders made by the Circuit Court, an apparent reference to conflicting High Court decisions of November and May last concerning the Circuit Court’s jurisdiction to hear certain repossession cases.

Suffered difficulties

He said Ms Knowles suffered difficulties including depression after the possession order was made in January 2014, and the Master of the High Court later agreed to extend time for her to appeal that possession order.

Ms Knowles has no recollection of getting a letter of demand of November 2009 and there were issues about a signature on that, he added.

In an affidavit, Mr Gilroy said he is a friend of Ms Knowles. He said the warrant detaining her was invalid as it was in the name of ICS Building Society and, as far as he was aware, the governor and company of the Bank of Ireland had applied to the Circuit Court to reconstitute the proceedings by substituting the governor and company of BOI earlier this year.

Ms Knowles is in dispute with ICS, he said. On November 10th, the Master of the High Court extended time for her and her son to appeal the Circuit Court possession order of January 20th, 2014. When a further extension was sought on December 2nd, the Master granted an additional 72 hours, he said.

Notice of appeal

Ms Knowles did serve her notice of appeal on December 2nd, he said.

He said the plaintiff bank in the Circuit Court proceedings appealed the Master’s order, and the High Court on Monday last dismissed the appeal and affirmed the Master’s order of November 10th.

Mr Gilroy said Ms Knowles previously appeared before Judge Donagh McDonagh at the Circuit Court on October 27th. The judge said he had no jurisdiction in the Circuit Court possession proceedings, refused to make an order for attachment and committal, and adjourned the matter to December 8th when Ms Knowles appeared before Judge O’Donnabhain.

A friend of Ms Knowles who was present had given a written account stating the judge warned Ms Knowles she was at risk of jail and should get legal representation. She was unable to do so and was refused an adjournment to get a lawyer, the account stated.

Described as ‘brazen’

It was also stated, when her case was called, Ms Knowles began reading from a prepared statement but was interrupted by the judge who made the committal order. It was stated she continued to read the statement and the judge said she was in breach of the order and described her as “brazen”.

Mr Justice Barrett said he would direct an inquiry under Article 40 of the Constitution into the legality of Ms Knowles detention and order she be produced in court on Thursday morning for that inquiry.

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Dublin child homelessness figure doubles to 1,400

Kitty Holland:‘Shameful’:Dublin Simon has described the figures as “unacceptable and shameful”, while FOCUS IRELAND said they showed “Government action has so far failed to halt the constant flow of families becoming homeless”.-Irish Times

Olivia Kelly: “But the deal is a far cry from the proposal by ALAN KELLY, Minister for the Environment, to link private-sector rent increases to the consumer price index for four years. The measures won’t make a dent in existing rents, and it’s far from certain that they will make renting a viable long-term option.”-Irish Times(further down)

Kitty Holland:IRISH TIMES  Saturday, November 14, 2015, 01:00

There are now more than 1,400 homeless children in Dublin – more than twice as many as a year ago, the latest figures show.

Data published last night by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive show that during the week of 18th to 25th October there were 1,425 children in 677 families in emergency accommodation.

This represents a 109 per cent increase in the number of homeless children since October 2014, when there were 680 children in emergency accommodation in the capital.

Of the total, 975 children in 461 families are in hotels, while 450 children in 216 are in supported homeless accommodation.

‘Shameful’

Dublin Simon has described the figures as “unacceptable and shameful”, while Focus Ireland said they showed “Government action has so far failed to halt the constant flow of families becoming homeless”.

Sam McGuinness, Dublin Simon chief executive, said he was “alarmed” at the numbers. “With no measures to stop the ever rising flow of people into homelessness over the past year, we are now faced with the very shameful situation where 1,425 children are forced to lay their head in inadequate accommodation, scared and vulnerable, without a safe home to look to this Christmas.”

He said rent certainty measures announced by the Government this week were inadequate, as rents remained unaffordable for the poorest families dependent on rent supplement.

Mike Allen, director of advocacy with Focus Ireland, said the plan to freeze rents for two years was welcome but added a rise in rent supplement levels was necessary to keep poorer families in their homes.

‘Cumulative impact’

“The families which became homeless in October did so primarily as a result of the cumulative effects of rising rents over the last two years, linked to a freeze in rent supplement,” said Mr Allen.

“Even if the Government’s package does has the effect of slowing down rents it will make no difference to the families who will continue to lose their homes because of the cumulative impact of rent rises over the last two years while the Government took no action.”

A spokeswoman for the DRHE, which manages homelessness services in the capital, said “month-on-month” the provision of emergency accommodation for families was being increased.

In addition the executive was working to ensure 500 modular homes would be delivered next year to provide temporary accommodation for homeless families. National homelessness data for October are to be published by the Department of the Environment over the weekend.

Ireland’s rental crisis: Will new measures help?

Olivia Kelly

Irish  Times Saturday, November 14, 2015, 01:00

After months of inter-Coalition wrangling, and years of escalating rents, the Government has come up with a solution to Ireland’s rental-accommodation crisis: landlords can raise rents only every two years instead of every year. As showpieces go it’s hardly dazzling. But is it enough to make a difference?

There is a bit more to the package that the Government is calling its new deal for tenants. There will be increased notice periods both for ending a lease and for increasing rent. The long-promised deposit-protection scheme, whereby tenants’ deposits would be held by the Private Residential Tenancies Board rather than by a landlord, will be set up.

But the deal is a far cry from the proposal by Alan Kelly, Minister for the Environment, to link private-sector rent increases to the consumer price index for four years. The measures won’t make a dent in existing rents, and it’s far from certain that they will make renting a viable long-term option.

At other times this may not have mattered quite so much. Ten years ago one in 10 households lived in privately rented accommodation. Now it’s one in five, and another 10 per cent live in rented social housing. Numbers renting are even higher in urban areas: a quarter of Dublin city homes are privately rented. Historically, most Irish people have viewed renting as a temporary measure, a stopgap between leaving the nest and having the wherewithal to buy your own place.

Even with so many more people renting, this perception hasn’t changed. A report late last year by the economic consultancy DKM on the future of the private rented sector, commissioned by the Housing Agency, showed a low appetite for long-term renting. Almost three-quarters of renters planned to leave the rental market this year or next. Just 17 per cent saw themselves as lifelong tenants, and for most of those it was not because they wanted to but because they had to. The majority in this category cited an inability to afford a house as the main reason they had continued to rent.

Separately, a large group of the population rent from landlords with State assistance, and they don’t seem to want to stay as private-sector tenants either.

We don’t know for certain how many people want a council house. The last national assessment of need, completed in 2013, showed that just under 90,000 applicants were on local-authority waiting lists. Dublin City Council had 16,000 on the list at the time; last July the figure had increased to almost 21,600. More than 100,000 applicants are now likely to be waiting.

And these are just the people who have had their need for a council house approved; many more are skittering around the eligibility threshold and would like the stability of a council house – in effect a home for life, something the private rental sector certainly does not guarantee.

What all these figures show is that almost nobody living in private rental accommodation, supplemented or not, wants to be there. And it’s easy to understand why.

The high cost of renting and the inability to control and predict that cost in the medium or long term is a major drawback. Rents have been rising steadily since 2013, particularly in Dublin. The rises haven’t been minor: rents in the capital went up by 9.2 per cent in the year to the end of June, and rents across the State went up by 5.8 per cent, according to the Private Residential Tenancies Board.

This means that the average Dublin renter, who had been paying €1,275 a month for a house or €1,152 for an apartment in the summer of 2014, is now paying €1,387 for a house and €1,260 for an apartment. Rents for houses outside Dublin increased from €656 to €695 in the year, and for apartments from €623 to €660.

Why has this happened? It’s a simple equation of supply and demand. To give the short version of the housing boom and bust: we spent a few years building too many houses (more than 93,000 in 2006), many of them in the wrong places, then spent a few years building far too few (8,301 homes in 2013) anywhere.

Things improved a little last year: 11,016 homes were completed, but that’s fewer than the number the year records began, 1970, when 13,887 houses were built. The 11,016 built last year are just over half what the Housing Agency says is the minimum needed to meet demand.

There’s an inevitable trickledown effect. Without enough homes for sale, would-be buyers keep renting. More people renting in a market with fewer homes pushes up rents. More people renting who in a normal market would have the money to buy pushes it up even further.

Real solution

At the end of the chain are people who can’t afford to rent anywhere, and for whom social housing isn’t available.

The only real solution is to build more. Construction 2020, published in May 2014, was the Government’s first response to this need. To a large degree it was a strategy for strategies, recommending the setting up of taskforces and working groups.

The recently announced Budget 2016 has more solid housing-construction measures. Four thousand houses are to be provided next year under the first phase of an initiative to build 20,000 homes on sites controlled by the National Asset Management Agency by 2020. About 90 per cent will be in the Greater Dublin Area, and three-quarters will be starter homes.

This week’s housing package also included an initiative aimed at kick-starting the construction of 7,000 more affordable homes in Dublin and Cork. Developers will receive rebates on construction levies where a scheme has more than 50 homes and where houses are priced at less than €300,000 in Dublin and €250,000 in Cork.

These initiatives should help to speed up supply, but building houses takes a couple of years on average, so this doesn’t alleviate the immediate pressures on the rental market.

That’s where the “new deal” should help. The two-year rent freeze gives private tenants breathing space to muster a deposit towards their own home if they so wish – or to find a better deal if measures to increase supply and reduce prices work.

One announcement this week could bring a glimmer of hope to tenants reliant on State support. Tax relief will be introduced to encourage landlords to rent their properties to tenants in receipt of social-housing supports such as rent supplement. These landlords will be able to claim 100 per cent tax relief, up from the current 75 per cent. This carrot is more likely to yield results than any of the Government’s rent-regulation sticks.

The Government also hopes to boost the market by making apartment construction more appealing to builders. Its “guidelines” on apartment standards – enforceable by ministerial direction – are to be issued early next year.

“Apartments for hipsters”

Here the Government is following the example of Dublin City Council, which has put forward the notion of smaller apartments for renters only – described by one councillor as apartments for hipsters. With 63 per cent of renters aged under 34, and multinational firms that the Government is so eager to attract saying that they can’t find accommodation for their workers, there may be a case for allowing these smaller units.

Another form of rental provision, which is likely to prove more popular, is the idea of public housing. This would involve having private developers and investors build housing on council land, combining social rental with private rental.

Two schemes put forward in the Budget seem similar in intent. One is the concept of an affordable-rental scheme, for which €10 million from the sale of Bord Gáis has been set aside to fund a pilot project. This will be aimed at people whose incomes are above the threshold for State rental assistance but who cannot afford private rents.

The other, for social-housing tenants, involves a new form of public-private partnership in Dublin. In the new scheme, sites stay in the ownership of the State, and the developer receives payments for 25 years, after which the houses or apartments return to State ownership.

These are positive moves that could stave off a similar rental crisis in future. But they are unlikely to help people who right now can’t afford, or can’t find, a place to rent.

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Alan Kelly (Labour) Backs Down on Rent Control. 

“Government plans to solve Ireland’s rental crisis could see landlords hike rents immediately, will not prevent future rises, and risks marking the return of low-quality bedsits to the market.

Threshold chief executive Bob Jordan said the charity has “alerted” officials to concerns “rent would be inflated during the review period” — a view shared by housing expert Dr Lorcan Sirr, who said landlords will frontload rises because they will not be able to next year.”  Irish Examiner    Nov 7

Kelly had sought that rent increases be pegged to the cost of living. But Minister Noonan(FG) backed by 25 Landlord TDs, and American developers Kennedy Wilson forced him to bend the knee and retreat.

Landlords can only increase the rent every two years now rather than every year as before. Landlords must get three local examples of rents to justify an increase.!!!   This will make almost no difference.In a situation where there is no competition between landlords due to shortage of accomodation,landlords can simply raise the rent by double the yearly increase every two years! AND WORSE STILL, THE LANDLORD CAN HIKE THE RENT BEFORE THE NEW LAW COMES IN.The Dáil Sat All Night to Bail Out the Banks bondholders, but there is no urgency to protect tenants!

And, of course, Alan is preparing to take water charges from your pay or welfare cheque.

Focus Ireland Spokesperson said:“However, we are highly concerned it will fail to stem the constant rising flow of 70 to 80 families becoming homeless in Dublin alone very month. —–The measures are far from a convincing response to the scale of the problems we are facing,” he added.

Housing Crisis is Due to the Restrictions of the EU Fiscal Treaty and by PROHIBITION by the FG/Labour Government of Local Authority Borrowing for House Building Purposes to comply with these restrictions.

This policy leaves Government completely at the mercy of private developers. “US investors Kennedy Wilson advised Mr Noonan’s officials(before Budget) by letter that investment in property here could be “eliminated” if rent controls were introduced” Irish Examiner Nov2 2015

“Therefore local authorities, which are currently debarred from accessing Housing Finance Agency loans, due to concerns about its implications for the national debt, need to be given permission to borrow again for social housing provision” Dr Michelle Norris, UCD

Government found it more Important to give away 750 million in tax relief including 100 million to the Super-rich rather than allow local authorities to borrow 750 million for housing purposes

THE HOUSING POLICIES of THIS GOVERNMENT and THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT HAVE LEFT THOSE IN NEED OF SOCIAL HOUSING IN A STATE OF VIRTUAL TOTAL NEGLECT (I have brought together below articles by DR Rory Hearne, Dr Michelle Norris and Fintan OToole on the housing crisis)

The housing crisis is due to the implementation of a policy under which the ability of the rich to make profits out of housing provision and the opportunity for the rich to pay low taxes on their incomes and assets to the  to the state, are prioritised over the need of all citizens to have security of tenure in an adequate dwelling. The Free Market IDEOLOGY to which Fintan O’Toole refers is being deployed by governments and economists to justify this  prioritisation.

The implementation of these pro-rich policies is enshrined in legislation and EU treaties. Why cannot Local authorities borrow money to fund a social house building programme? As Dr Michelle Norris UCD attests (below)local authorities,  are currently debarred from accessing Housing Finance Agency loans, due to concerns about its implications for the national debt.

Under capitalism, borrowing by the state to provide assets that will endure for 100 years or more makes perfect sense. But FF,FG and Labour supported an EU Fiscal Treaty which places restrictions on state debt irrespective of human need. This leaves  these parties with three options in order to provide housing:

a) IMPOSE SERIOUS TAX INCREASES on INCOME AND ASSETS OF THE SUPER-RICH

b) Leave the Provision of Housing to the Free Market

c) IMPOSE NEW TAXES ON the Majority of the Population

It is not surprising that governments of the rich opt for a combination of b) and c)

KEY QUOTES FROM ARTICLES BELOW

“It is a national emergency and without a significant shift in policy the crisis will only worsen. At the current rate of families becoming homeless there will be more than 6,000 children in emergency accommodation by 2017. This is deeply traumatic for children and their families. It is arguably a breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.The current crisis results from decades of housing policy that followed the private ‘free-market’ approach which treated housing primarily as a commodity and speculative investment asset”-——Dr Rory Hearne, Tasc .

“And still, after all we’ve been through, 75 per cent of the Government’s promised “social housing” is to be built (supposedly) by the private sector.There is an almost obsessive fear of stating the obvious – that a large proportion of people will never be decently housed by “the market”. Those citizens need a State that’s not afraid to clear the ground of narrow ideology and build on the foundations of real human needs. That might involve relearning another forgotten word – republic.” Fintan O’Toole  Irish Times Columnist

“Therefore local authorities, which are currently debarred from accessing Housing Finance Agency loans, due to concerns about its implications for the national debt, need to be given permission to borrow again for social housing provision. This is the only realistic method of raising sufficient finance for and delivering a social housing programme on the scale required to meet current needs. A relatively small amount of public borrowing for this purpose could have enormous social benefits and cut spending on rent supplements.”-Dr Michelle Norris  UCD

Rory Hearne: The STATE MUST INTERVENE IN THE HOUSING MARKET

Last Updated: Thursday, October 22, 2015, 05:15

The Irish housing system is in an unprecedented crisis. This is visible in escalating rents, ‘economic’ evictions, mortgage arrears, repossessions, waiting lists, substandard accommodation and the growing numbers of those unable to buy a home.

It is a national emergency and without a significant shift in policy the crisis will only worsen. At the current rate of families becoming homeless there will be more than 6,000 children in emergency accommodation by 2017. This is deeply traumatic for children and their families. It is arguably a breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The current crisis results from decades of housing policy that followed the private ‘free-market’ approach which treated housing primarily as a commodity and speculative investment asset.

This continues today with the crisis being analysed as one of ‘demand outstripping supply’ and discussion focused on how to incentivise the property industry to build more housing stock.

However, during the boom there was plenty of supply and still prices rose to unaffordable and unsustainable levels contributing to the crash. This is because price is determined not simply by demand and supply but also by profit seeking, costs of investment, and government regulation.

Developers can and do sit for decades on land or leave property derelict until they consider it profitable to commence building. Right now there is 2,233 hectares of undeveloped zoned land in the wider Dublin region which could provide 102,500 new housing units.

The basic problem with a free market approach to housing is that the private market only caters for a ‘demand’ that can provide a profit. If you can’t provide a sufficient profit, as is the case with many low income households, then you don’t count. The current crisis is not just a once-off market failure – it is the modus operandi of the private housing market. Predominantly free market or neoliberal housing systems like ours are characterised by persistent boom and busts, affordability problems, and exclusion.

That is why the state must intervene to protect people from the market. It could do this in two ways which would fundamentally address the crisis. Firstly, there is an immediate need for rent certainty (where rents cannot be increased beyond a certain index such as inflation) and improved tenant protections in the private rented sector. Rent regulation exists in many European countries (who incidentally have plenty of ‘supply’).

There is no constitutional impediment to such a measure, as Article 43.2.1 of Bhunreacht na hEireann states that the right of private ownership “ought to be regulated by the principles of social justice” and the State may, “delimit by law” these rights for “the common good”. The introduction of rent certainty, as with other measures, is clearly a political choice and the Constitution should not be hidden behind as an excuse for inaction.

Secondly, a State Homes and Housing Agency should be formed to deliver a historic social, rental and affordable house building and refurbishment programme of well-planned, sustainable, and mixed communities. This would be a partnership between local authorities, government departments, housing associations, NAMA and the Housing Finance Agency. It would have access to land, finance and institutional expertise. It should have €1.5bn of annual capital funding from the state. The current allocation of €500 million to new social housing building in the Capital Investment Plan is inadequate as it will only provide 1400 new units nationally next year with fewer than 300 of those in Dublin City.

The Agency could build on the 30 hectares of land that Dublin City Council is currently being forced to sell off through a Public Private Partnership because it does not have the finances to build on it itself. It could redirect into social use the €4.5billion NAMA plans to invest with various vulture funds on high end office and apartment developments. A Housing and Homes Agency could draw on finance from the European Investment Bank. It could also compulsory purchase vacant and derelict buildings and take over buy-to-lets in arrears and convert them to low cost rental housing.

As it currently stands the 20,000 units the government has outlined NAMA will provide in order to address supply will not be social units but are to be delivered on a ‘commercial basis’ and are more likely to be sold to international investment funds rather than as ‘starter homes’. Indeed NAMA’s promotion of and involvement with global wealth funds in the Irish property market must be questioned as to how it is benefitting the Irish housing system. It is facilitating the trend where housing is increasingly becoming a global investment asset for the wealthy 1per cent.

Problems in our housing system are affecting economic competitiveness, contributing to rising deprivation, inequality and poverty, and lowering educational and employment prospects of those affected. The 2008 crash should be a stark warning that a rising property market is not necessarily a ‘good thing’. The housing system will only be fixed when policy treats housing in the first instance as a home, a social necessity and a human right, not a speculative investment asset or commodity.

Dr Rory Hearne, Senior Policy Analyst, TASC Think-tank for Action on Social Change

© 2015 irishtimes.com

Fintan O’Toole: Opposition to social housing is matter of ideology not economics

 

Fintan O’Toole  Irish Times : Tuesday, October 20, 2015, 04:00

Fellmongery is the preparation of animal skins for tanning. A pollard is an animal that has had its horns removed. In 1949, official statistics still listed Ireland’s “principal products” as including “fellmongery, laces, pigs’ heads, pollard and snuff”.

Yet in that same year, 1949, my mother’s family moved into the Dublin Corporation house where I would later grow up. A poor, primitive, backward economy could build social housing on a large scale for people who lacked decent homes.

And the rich, developed, globalised Irish economy of 2015 can’t.

In the late 1940s, when my family was housed, Ireland was still recovering from the drastic economic effects of the second World War. The average industrial wage was £5.59 a week for men and £2.97 for women.

In real terms, that’s less than a third of average industrial wages in 1998 before the Celtic Tiger bubble. Fewer than a third of households in 1949 had more than four rooms to live in. More than 60 per cent of households had no piped water supply. Nearly half had no sanitary facilities – only 255,000 houses had a flush toilet.

And yet the State could build social housing.

Health and education

Infant mortality was about a hundred times higher than it is now. Kids still died in large numbers from pneumonia, TB, whooping cough and diphtheria. Male life expectancy at birth was less than 65 years.

People were badly educated – in 1950, a grand total of 4,500 students sat the Leaving Certificate exam and the number in all our universities combined was 7,900. The entire output of Irish broadcasting was seven hours of radio a day. There were just 43,000 phone lines in the State, only a third of them domestic.

And yet the State could build social housing.

The Irish economy, dominated by agriculture and food production, was a paltry thing: total exports in 1949 amounted to just £61 million.

Almost all of this went to the UK as raw product – the characteristic Irish export was a live cow in the hold of a cattle boat. In order of scale, the leading Irish exports in 1949 were cattle, horses, fresh hen eggs, ale/beer/porter, chocolate crumb, dead turkeys and tinned beef. This makes tinned beef our leading manufacturing export.

And yet the State could build social housing.

The estate I grew up in, Crumlin in southwest Dublin, was built by the local authority, Dublin Corporation, with funding from the central government. The process actually started in the 1930s, during the Great Depression: 250 acres of south Crumlin were acquired by compulsory purchase in 1934 and the building of over 3,000 houses began more or less straight away.

The project was far from perfect. The houses were too small – most, like the one I grew up in, had just two bedrooms for big (often extended) Irish Catholic families. (Our household, by no means untypical, had three adults and five children.) Services and facilities were slow to follow.

But the rent was affordable and the houses were a hell of a lot better than what most people had before.

My mother had been living (with seven other people) in what was essentially a one-room cottage in the Liberties; my father grew up in a little hovel off the Dublin quays.

The “market” never had and never would give them a decent place to live – the State did so instead. For all the problems, people in Crumlin had a secure roof over their heads and the chance to build a good community. We had homes.

Why could the State do this in the hungry 1930s and the postwar 1940s but not now?

Not because we can’t but because, as Enda Kenny put it last week, “interference in the market” must be avoided. The desperation to avoid the simple conclusion that government should build houses for people who need them is about ideology, not resources. Fine Gael, in particular, seems incapable of understanding housing as anything other than a market.

Free-market ideology

It is striking that the decline in the building of social housing in Ireland follows directly from the rise of so called “free market” ideology in the Thatcher/Reagan era. In the mid-1970s, social housing made up a third of all new houses. The shift in which that proportion dropped to just 5 per cent was as disastrous economically as it was socially – the property bubble could not have inflated without it.

And still, after all we’ve been through, 75 per cent of the Government’s promised “social housing” is to be built (supposedly) by the private sector.

There is an almost obsessive fear of stating the obvious – that a large proportion of people will never be decently housed by “the market”. Those citizens need a State that’s not afraid to clear the ground of narrow ideology and build on the foundations of real human needs. That might involve relearning another forgotten word – republic.

© 2015 irishtimes.com

From Dr MICHELLE NORRIS UCD    Letter to Irish Times  

Sir, – Fintan O’Toole (“Opposition to social housing is matter of ideology not economics”, Opinion & Analysis, October 20th) in part answers his own question when he asks why the State could afford to fund a major social house-building programme during the “hungry Fifties” when there was no free secondary education and many of the social welfare benefits available today did not exist. Relatively low spending on most other public services facilitated levels of public investment in housing which were the highest in western Europe at this time.

Growing spending on social welfare and health, particularly during the 1970s, is one of the reasons why spending on social housing was cut back. Therefore, unlike its counterparts in the inter-party government of the 1950s, the current Government faces the challenge of concurrently funding a social house building programme and a comprehensive system of benefits and public services.

However, the other part of the answer to the question raised by Fintan O’Toole sheds light on how the current Government can meet this challenge. High levels of social housing delivery were possible in the 1950s because the funding method spread out the costs of provision and kept them affordable for government. At this time social housing was funded by very long-term loans, which were repaid using a mix of central government subsidies, tenants’ rents and the proceeds of domestic rates.

This funding model collapsed when domestic rates were abolished in 1978 and after that the exchequer paid for social house building in lump-sum grants. The latter arrangement was less affordable because the costs of provision were paid up front rather than spread out over a long period, which helps to explain why insufficient numbers of social houses were built even during the Celtic Tiger period.

This lesson has been partially taken on board by policymakers and in recent years loan finance had been provided for social housing provision by non-profit housing associations by the Housing Finance Agency, which borrows on capital markets and from EU institutions for this purpose. The agency currently has some €500 million available for lending to this sector at a fixed interest rate of 3.25 per cent.

However, despite great work by some housing associations, it is not realistic to think that this sector, which delivered 25 per cent of social housing prior to the bust, has the capacity to meet the full scale of current housing needs, at least in the short term.

Therefore local authorities, which are currently debarred from accessing Housing Finance Agency loans, due to concerns about its implications for the national debt, need to be given permission to borrow again for social housing provision. This is the only realistic method of raising sufficient finance for and delivering a social housing programme on the scale required to meet current needs. A relatively small amount of public borrowing for this purpose could have enormous social benefits and cut spending on rent supplements.

Local authorities were traditionally the main providers of social housing in Ireland, and Fintan’s O’Toole’s article eloquently describes the huge contribution which council housing made to improving the lives of his own family in the 1950s.

I agree that they have to play a central role if we are to solve the current housing shortage. However, I disagree with his assertion that achieving this is a matter of ideology; an affordable method of resourcing this work has to be put in place as well. – Yours, etc,

Dr MICHELLE NORRIS,

School of Social Policy,

Social Work and

Social Justice,

University College Dublin,

Belfield, Dublin 4.

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  1. May 1, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Reblogged this on seachranaidhe1.

  2. October 20, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Thanks Derry

  1. October 20, 2016 at 10:00 am

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