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Why are the Banks allowed repossess Your Home ??

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Nice ATM

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Over the past number of months it has become a common occurrence for Banks to take a strong stance against customers who default on their debts and in particular against those it sees as the most vulnerable i.e. those who are having difficulty in making the repayments on their mortgages. Make no mistake about it, it is because of the ‘security’ the Banks hold i.e. the title deeds to your Home that has spurred them on to take such actions.

The consequences of the Banks actions have devastating effects. Not only is the loss or threatened loss of your Home devastating by itself but the consequences of  same can be far-reaching. Daily, we are reading in the newspapers and other media of families being tossed out onto the streets and needing rehousing which in itself is dreadful but the number of family breakups, children having their lives devastated and the mental and physical illness associated with this are numerous and tragic. I have personally seen one or other of the parents desert the family as they feel useless and unable to cope, as well as one parent tragically, taking their own life as they felt demoralised and a ‘failure’. Society is finding it very difficult to cope with the Banks and the consequences of their actions.

There are always those in our society who for one reason or another default on their mortgages. Tragic they all are, but some have been understandable. I am talking about Family Homes here not the repossession of holiday or second homes, property investments and such like. The loss of their job by the sole provider to the family, can and does have consequences. In the past an arrangement could be made with the Bank to get people over short-term problems. Today the problems experienced by the majority are long-term and need another solution. Many engage and talk with their Bank and come to some sort of arrangement but without the prospect of reemployment at some stage in the near future, such arrangements are of no use and are certain to fail.

Let’s look at the actions of the Banks in the context of Ireland 2011 where the State have taken over the liabilities of the Banks. That’s right, we the tax payer are now, as a result of the actions of our elected Government, liable for the debts of the Banks. Not only that but we are being told, not asked, to pay further sums as necessary into these Banks in order that they can continue to operate. So the citizens of this country who are being thrown out of their homes, are at the same time subsidising these self-same Banks. Is there not something immoral about all this? Our Judges see this immorality in action in the Courts on a daily basis and are clearly frustrated. They call on people in such cases to come before the Courts and do everything within their power to help them. It is unfortunately just putting off the inevitable as today people are losing hope and the ability to deal with their financial responsibilities in a realistic manner.

It always amazes me how quick our politicians are in funding the Banks to whatever level is required while at the same time are unwilling to support those in our society who are suffering the most hardship. In the latter case a little goes a long way while for the former it seems a black bottomless pit. In our system of justice, when a business is in trouble it is prudent to have the Courts appoint a Receiver or Examiner who takes control of the business to see if it is sustainable and then reorganise the business , under the protection of the Court, and gives it time to reorganise itself. Then decisions are made to come out of receivership/administration to continue to trade or else the business is sold to willing buyers. The last scenario is where the company is wound up. Why the Banks have not been dealt with in a similar manner but instead are being handed a taxpayer bailout is beyond me.  One law for Irish businesses while another, taxpayer bailout, seems exclusive for dealing with the Banks. We are told that Society as we know it, will collapse if we cannot get money out of the ATM machines. Well, I remember a sustained Bank Strike in the 1970’s/ 80’s when the Banks remained closed for several months and society just got on with their businesses while suffering the consequences of the disruption. Society did not fall apart !

I know that we lawyers will always give the underdog a defence and not see injustice done for lack of legal representation but we have to seriously question our actions in representing the interests of the Banks while causing indeterminable suffering to the citizens of the State. Of course we cannot refer to the banks as the underdog in any fashion as they clearly have acted and continue to act as though Society owes them a living. What other business today in Ireland would receive such unconditional support from the State? Why do we not have  leaders who put the interests of the citizen first and foremost and deal with the Banks and other such institutions in a way that reflects the true values of our Society? We should look to our Constitution and the equality of all. Something has gone seriously wrong with our Society for us to find ourselves in such an outrageous position.

So saving the Banks at all costs to enable society to function is in itself destabilising the same society it is claimed to support. Legally the banks are quite entitled to seek repossession of customers homes when the Mortgage is in default but such actions are in themselves causing the breakup of society as we know it. Something needs to change and to change immediately. Politicians of all Parties and Independents need to step in and cure this blight on our society before it is too late and the fabric of society as we know it no longer exists.


LegalEagleStar , Wednesday , 16th March, 2011

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