Promise Broken, Noonan
Byline: PAT FLANAGAN
July: Debt relief for homeowners Sept: Report rules out ANY help THE Government was last night accused of lying to struggling homeowners - and backing banks and speculators instead.
The Taoiseach and Finance Minister yesterday rowed in behind the Keane Report which ruled out any chance of debt forgiveness for ordinary people.
It means thousands will be turfed out of their homes and another 10,000 could lose ownership - but pay rent to keep the same roof over their heads.
Socialist TD Joe Higgins accused the Government of not honouring promises to help homeowners.
He said: "Despite what they said, it is clear that for the Government, bailing out the speculators and the bankers is a bigger priority than looking after the people.
"This report [compiled by civil servants] is heartless and without compassion or sympathy.
"It gives the impression that tens of thousands of people won't pay their mortgages when the case is they can't pay."
David Hall, co-founder of the New Beginnings group which supports threatened homeowners, branded the report "absolutely pathetic".
He said: "Nobody was approached.
No organisation on the frontline of dealing with this was approached - Mabs, the Free Legal Advice Centre, New Beginnings, none.
"There was no formal request from the report authors to ask us to contribute, to advise."
And comments by the Taoiseach that some people are refusing to pay their mortgages will enrage struggling families who go without food in order to stay in their homes. Enda Kenny said: "In many cases, people went to banks and lending institutions and overborrowed and were over-lent, and unfortunately, because of the economic decline and the impact of the recession, people with mortgages are having difficulties. …