SINN Féín’s Deputy Johnny Mythen has called on the Government to support his party’s proposals to give mortgage relief to homeowners.
eputy Mythen made his call ahead of a motion from Sinn Féin finance spokesperson, Deputy Pearse Doherty, to be debated in the Dáil on Wednesday.
The motion calls on the Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath TD, to introduce what Deputy Mythen said is “timely, targeted and temporary mortgage interest relief” to support borrowers struggling with rising interest rates.
“Mortgage holders are seeing a large rise in their interest costs as a result of interest rate hikes by the ECB,” said Deputy Mythen.
“Last week’s hike was the fifth since July,” he added.
“That means that borrowers will be paying thousands of euro more in interest this year and others are likely to see their interest rates increase in the coming period.”
He said that in the grip of a cost of living crisis and with sharp and significant rises in interest costs, now is the right time to introduce targeted and temporary mortgage interest relief.
“The now Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath, while in opposition in 2015, described mortgage relief as ‘a very important support for families,” said Deputy Mythen. He also referred to when Min McGrath said ‘the process of withdrawing it from existing homeowners at the same time as they are subject to a residential property tax highlights a Government that is pursuing policies that are making home ownership increasingly unaffordable for families’.
“Sinn Fein agrees with Min McGrath’s then assessment but considers it an apt description of the policies of the current Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Green Party Government,” said Deputy Mythen.
“Minister McGrath’s U-turn on this issue, as confirmed by his statements last week that he has no plans to introduce mortgage interest relief despite his previous calls in opposition, suggests Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael cannot be trusted to support homeownership or homeowners,” he added.
He said what his party colleague was proposing was different to the mortgage interest relief that existed in the past, which was based on the total interest paid on a mortgage loan.
“Instead, it would provide mortgage interest relief equivalent to 30 per cent of increased interest costs, relative to June 2022, up to but not exceeding €1,500 per annum,” said Deputy Mythen.
“The measure is temporary and the measure is targeted,” he added.
“It would provide relief on increased interest costs as a result of interest rate rises.”
Deputy Mythen said his party would also work with the Central Bank to enhance the supervision of vulture funds in the interests of struggling borrowers.
“We would examine the taxation of the banking sector including the treatment of corporation tax loss relief,” he said.
“These proposals would absorb a portion of borrowers’ increased interest costs as a result of rate hikes since June and this measure is sensible, affordable and necessary,” he added.