Why we, and the banks, must be realistic on mortgage arrears – and on repossessions

Irish Independent 1 March 2013

The news that the Government will let banks proceed on repossessions, of both homes and buy-to-let properties, as part of a solution to mortgage arrears is a sign of the further clean-up of the mess created by our property-driven boom. And, let’s be honest, it’s a boom that the whole country benefited from, from the taxi driver with the apartment in Bulgaria to the farmer with the second home in Leitrim. Of course, there are many of us who didn’t actually purchase property, as part of the investment mania, but the reality is that it fuelled our bubble economy and provided the lavish tax receipts which paid for civil service benchmarking, personal tax breaks and capital spending – not to mention an unusually generous welfare culture.