Yes, there ARE still 330,000 living in Irish homes who could lose them

You can crunch the economic data any way you want but it’s obvious that if there were a Breakfast Roll Index, it would show that our wounded island is on the mend.

Christmas tills are ringing already and Finance Minister Michael Noonan’s #budget16 wants us to look forward, ahead, to a prosperous Ireland.

But there is an uncomfortable reality.

Still, 330,000 men, women and children in Ireland are living in homes in mortgage arrears. Arrears over 2 years are not falling, and this group represents those most at risk of losing their homes.

After years of inaction, just a few weeks before the next election, the cabinet this week agreed on changes to bankruptcy that can only be described as a quarter of what’s needed, four years too late.

Last week the Social Democrats published a comprehensive response to the mortgage crisis.

It introduces one-year bankruptcy and no more than two years income attachments after that.

It includes a one-stop-shop for borrowers, to provide free financial and legal expertise.

It includes a mandated set of restructuring offers, to ensure the best solutions are being offered in each case.

It would allow courts refuse possession orders on houses if a sustainable restructuring proposal can be demonstrated.

It includes a realistic way to scale up the mortgage-to-rent scheme.

So what does the Government say when the Social Democrats remind them of this canker at the heart of our country?

In the Dail we are told by Energy Minister Alex White that thecountry had successfully conquered the worst recession in history and the worst banking collapse anywhere in the world.

“As this Dáil term enters its final weeks and months, it is important to acknowledge that,” he said.

Here’s something else to acknowledge, Minister.

David Hall of the IMHO stated that ‘if these proposals were introduced, the mortgage crisis would be over, for those 330,000 people, in 12 to 18 months.

That’s right, over.