On Thursday, I called for Permanent TSB to establish a position on how it will treat mortgage debt forgiveness.
After yesterday’s meeting of the Oireachtas Finance Committee, we witnessed the unusual situation where two directors of the bank, Ray MacSharry and Margaret Hayes, were somewhat at odds with each other over how mortgage debt forgiveness should be treated.
While Mr. MacSharry was adamant that the bank would not forgive mortgage debt, Ms. Hayes stated that she could see instances where loans, if they were unsustainable, could be written off. It is clear that Permanent TSB don’t have a consistent, common sense approach to how to deal with this problem. The State now owns more than 99% of the institution after a €4bn bailout and I believe it is within our remit to call on them to impose some sense of clarity and consistency.
The reason the bank was bailed out in the first instance was because the debts were deemed unrecoverable. It appears there is some disagreement over whether this is the case. Yesterday, the Personal Insolvency legislation was enacted, which will revolutionise the way unsustainable debt is dealt with in this country.
It is imperative that Permanent TSB establish a position on this as a matter of urgency, and I would call on them to make a statement clarifying this issue.”