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Newly formed group vows to fight repossessions

Wednesday, 28th September, 2011 12:00am
Newly formed group  vows to fight repossessions

• HARDSHIP: Ben Gilroy pictured on route to a DOHL protest in the city centre last Friday. Mr Gilroy is facing the daunting prospect of losing his home. PHOTO BY DARREN KINSELLA

Newly formed group  vows to fight repossessions

• HARDSHIP: Ben Gilroy pictured on route to a DOHL protest in the city centre last Friday. Mr Gilroy is facing the daunting prospect of losing his home. PHOTO BY DARREN KINSELLA

A NEW campaign group

has been established to help beleaguered Northsiders who face the prospect of

losing their homes because they are unable to meet their mortgage repayments.

Defend Our Homes

League (DOHL) has been set up to prevent further repossessions and evictions of

people facing financial hardship.

The group

includes the left wing United Left Alliance (ULA) group of TDs, legal group,

New Beginning, campaign group, Irish Homeowners Unite, and homeowners unable to

repay their mortgages.

Ben Gilroy (48),

who is originally from Raheny and a member of DOHL, is married with three

children and now lives in Navan.

Until recently

he had been paying approximately €2,800 per month for a period of over three

years to meet the repayments on an interest-only mortgage of €310,000 on the

house, which he purchased for over €400,000.

However, Mr

Gilroy recently told his mortgage broker that he could no longer afford to make

the repayments. He said the company has now told him it intends to repossess

the house.

“After paying

that mortgage I am absolutely financially ruined and they are looking for the

house back,” Mr Gilroy told Northside People.

“I have lost

over a quarter of a million on that house. In three and a half years I have

paid €75,000 in interest and the valuation of my house has gone down by €200,000.

“Because of the

interest-only repayments nothing has come off the principal sum. I still owe

the €310,000 that I borrowed.á

Mr Gilroy said

DOHL supports the idea of a State agency such as the Money Advice and Budgeting

Service (MABS) acting as an independent assessor of people's ability to repay

their mortgages.

“I want an

independent body set up - someone who has experience like MABS,” he stated.

“I would be

looking for the independent body to be saying this is what these amounts are

for and this is what the house is worth and to come to some arrangement.

“It is better to

leave a family in a home paying €500 or €600 a month when they could

alternatively become a burden on the State.”

Mr Gilroy added:

“I could just as easily say why should I bother and try to get a house off the

social welfare because they would pay most of my rent on it.”

David Hall is a

barrister with Capel Street-based New Beginning. He said the group would be

making submissions to the Government in the coming weeks to address the

mortgage arrears and repossession issues.

“We are looking

for an independent judicial group or body that is allowed to formally

restructure debt appropriately when a lender approaches with a resolution,”

stated Mr Hall.

“Why not reduce

some pain now and postpone the pain if everyone including the Government and

the banks are saying this is a cycle and it will improve?

“Why not allow

people pay their mortgage appropriately but by reducing the risk to that person

by looking at what effectively happens if a house is to be repossessed?

“If someone with

a €400,000 house gets repossessed, the bank will get €180,000 and will have to

write off over €200,000.

“We are saying:

why are you trying to penalise a person by trying to force them to pay a

mortgage of €400,000 where in effect they can't pay it?

“Why not try to

do a deal with them where they pay €180,000 over a period of time and then

reintroduce the €220,000 at a later stage.”

Dublin North TD

Clare Daly (SP), along with a number of other United Left Alliance TDs,

recently submitted proposals to the Government's Interdepartmental Group on the

Mortgage Crisis on behalf of DOHL.

Dublin North

Central TD Finian McGrath (Ind) has also indicated his support for the


DOHL says it

will convene a national meeting to respond to the forthcoming report by the

Interdepartmental Group and to plan resistance to repossessions.

It is also

working with New Beginning to prepare a Bill to submit to the Dáil later this


Deputy Daly said

the purpose of the campaign is to engineer a climate where repossessions and

evictions become totally unacceptable.

“Parts of the

campaign will include protesting where repossessed properties are put up for

sale,” she stated.

“In the Dail I

and the other ULA TDs, with the help of others who support the Defend Our Homes

League, will be looking to introduce a private members' bill this autumn, which

will effectively outlaw repossessions and evictions.”

A spokesman for

the Department of Finance told Northside People that the Government's Economic

Management Council has tasked an Inter-Departmental Group to consider further

necessary actions to alleviate the increasing problem of mortgage


“The group will

report to it by the end of this month,” he said.

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