Local Fianna Fail TD Frank O’Rourke, has stated that mortgage interest rates charged in Ireland are entirely unjustifiable and the banks must be tackled to ensure that fairer mortgage rates are available to Irish home owners.

“Recent statistics, published by the Central Bank, show that the average interest rate on all new Irish mortgages in June stood at 3.23%, slightly higher than in May.  The equivalent average for the Euro area is only 1.8%.  Ireland is the only country in the Euro area with an average rate above 3%.”

“This massive differential is impacting negatively on the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of individuals and families around our country and depriving local economy of much needed stimulus.  An Irish borrower, with a 30 year mortgage of €250,000, is paying €1085 per month. This is around €188 per month, equivalent to €2,200 per year and €68,000 over the lifetime of the mortgage, more than they would be paying in the average Euro area country.”

“Over the last 10 years, people’s wages have increased very little and we need to focus on reducing the cost of living to ease the pressure on wage inflation. Reducing people’s mortgage repayments is one mechanism to reduce the cost of living.”

“We have been campaigning for mortgage holders, and particularly those in mortgage arrears, for some time now. Since being elected to the Dail, I have worked with our Finance Spokesperson, Michael McGrath TD, to keep a focus on their concerns. All of the instruments available to the Government and the Central Bank must be used to ensure that Irish mortgage holders receive fair treatment when compared to other EU countries.”

“The government must reconsider its opposition to legislation giving more power to the Central Bank to tackle high mortgage rates in light of the most recent statistics.”

“A delegation from the Oireachtas Finance Committee will be meeting officials from the ECB next month and we have placed the issue of high mortgage interest rates on the agenda for discussion,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.