Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, welcomed his party’s Private Members Motion on Tracker Mortgages, which was moved in the Dáil this week.
The motion calls for a strict deadline for redress and compensation to the victims of the scandal. It also calls for greater cooperation between An Garda Síochana, the Central Bank and the Office of the Director for Corporate Enforcement, to hold those responsible for the scandal to account. The Government must bring forward legislation to ensure that individuals in financial institutions can be held accountable for white collar crime.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“The antics of an influential section of the Irish banking profession have rarely been out of the headlines over the last number of years, and for all the wrong reasons.
“Taxpayers and many banks customers received a raw deal, and scandal after scandal has left many of them incensed at the light touch regulation in the profession.
“The appalling treatment of approximately 15,000 customers that fell into arrears because they were denied a cheaper option of a tracker mortgage on their variable loan is another blatant example.
“I welcome that my party, Sinn Féin, are using our Private Members time to call for a comprehensive redress scheme that will begin to work for all those customers affected by tracker mortgages and within a strict deadline.
“This scandal brings back into the light how weak our laws are when it comes to tackling white collar crime. The gaps in our white collar crime legislation make it difficult to pin down individuals for their responsibility in scandals like this. Our motion calls for a new approach to white collar crime so that those who caused these scandals can be held accountable not just as a corporation but as individuals who are directly responsible for these criminal acts.
“We know that up to 15,000 families have been victims of this abuse by banks right across the sector yet many of these same banks are still stringing the families along with pro-forma letters each month with no new information and no offers of compensation.
“Many customers were placed under huge pressure with many falling into arrears trying to pay the additional money on their mortgages, sometimes amounting to several hundred Euros a month, which they had not expected or budgeted for.
“To compound this hurt, some Banks challenged customers who received a favourable decision by the courts, and went as far as the costly Supreme Court before they withdrew their defence.
“Our motion also calls on the on the Central Bank of Ireland, An Garda Síochána and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement to co-operate, with a view to establishing if individuals as well as corporate entities can be held accountable for their part in this scandal.
“The Central Bank has been tardy in acting and calling for a full examination. Its attempts to pursue the banks in order to clean up the mess they made for their customers has been lacklustre.
“I’m calling on all parties to support this important Sinn Féin motion.”