Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has expressed his deep disappointment that the Government have not chosen to renew the payment break for borrowers in light of the latest surge in COVID cases and ensuing lockdown that has forced so many out of employment.

Teachta Crowe said that this was an abandonment of families and workers, just when they needed support from Government most to ensure that they can keep up with payments and not fall behind.

Teachta Crowe said:

“The government has abandoned borrowers, mortgage-holders and small businesses in the latest wave of the virus.

“There are now 400,000 people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This number is set to rise, with more than one in five to be unemployed by the end of the month.

“These are people who have lost their jobs as a result of public health restrictions. Thousands of them are mortgage holders.

“Back in December, the European Banking Authority updated its payment break guidelines in light of the growth in infection of COVID-19 throughout Europe. They were reactivated to provide support and relief to borrowers.

“They would have allowed the government and banks to put in place payment break extensions for three months, for the duration of these latest public health restrictions.

“Crucially, this would have ensured that borrowers who availed of these breaks would not be charged additional interest or have their credit ratings impaired.

“Disgracefully, the government has refused to secure or even seek this extension for mortgage-holders and SMEs.

“Instead of securing relief for borrowers, the government has abandoned them.

“My colleague and party Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD wrote to the Tánaiste and Minister for Finance on January 8th setting out what is required – a three-month payment break extension without any increase in subsequent repayments. To date I have received no response.

“This inaction is denying much needed relief to thousands of workers, families, and small businesses throughout the state.

“The Tánaiste and Minister for Finance must explain their refusal to even seek a payment break extension for these borrowers.”