Strong words must be matched by concrete action on banks' failings

17 October 2012

Legal rights group FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) today welcomed comments made by both Central Bank and Department of Finance officials that seemed to indicate a tougher stance being taken on the failure of banks to adequately tackle mortgage debt. However, FLAC stressed that strong words must be followed by concrete action.

"It is encouraging to read the robust comments by Fiona Muldoon of the Central Bank and John Moran of the Department of Finance, which seems to show that the State is running out of patience with the banks minimal efforts at resolving the chronic mortgage arrears problem" said FLAC Director General Noeline Blackwell.

"However, there is still a sense that such high-ranking state officials are still kindly asking the banking industry to do the decent thing. These are commercial entities, which aim to be profit-making. It is government that makes the rules, and yet it is still requesting remedial action, rather than ordering it."

Fiona Muldoon is Head of Banking Regulation with the Central Bank and John Moran is Secretary General of the Department of Finance. They were speaking at the Irish Banking Federation's annual conference in Dublin yesterday.



Editors' notes:

  1. FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) is a human rights organisation which exists to promote equal justice for all. FLAC is an NGO that relies on a combination of statutory funding, contributions from the legal professions and donations from individuals and grant-making foundations to support its work. FLAC offers basic legal information through its telephone information line and free legal advice through its network of 80 volunteer evening advice centres. It also campaigns on a range of issues including personal debt, fairness in social welfare law, public interest law and civil legal aid.
  2. FLAC's comment on the Central Bank latest mortgage arrears data for Q2 2012 is available online. The CB data referred to in FLAC's comment is also available online. There is also a comment on the most recent information initiatives from the government.
  3. FLAC has prepared a briefing note on the background to the reform of personal debt and insolvency laws in Ireland.
  4. Some other resources on the issue of personal debt are available on FLAC's website. A conference microsite on Legislating for personal insolvency in Ireland: International developments and domestic issues (April 2012) is available online.