Wednesday 27 March 2013
I remind the Deputies opposite that this Government will last its full term. We will not be like the Green Party and Fianna Fáil and we will not flake on the Irish people. If I was to arrive in this Chamber from another planet and read Deputy Michael McGrath’s motion, I would have said “fair play” because everything to which he aspires is what the Government is doing and everything he writes down is what we are all trying to achieve. Then I suddenly remembered that I am living in Ireland where the Deputy’s party created a bubble for 14 years and the party is over. The carnival is gone and the Irish people are left with the legacy of its reckless behaviour. Rather than debating a Private Members’ motion here, we should be before a tribunal with the 14 or 15 members of the previous Government before it justifying their actions because they behaved irresponsibly on behalf of the Irish people. They betrayed the trust of the people and have the audacity to come in here and chastise the Government which inherited a mess, acknowledges the difficulties people face and is trying to get us back to sovereignty. I appreciate Deputy Michael McGrath’s motivation because he is a decent person but the party he represents is not. Its policies have made our country the way it is and the people must never be allowed to forget that.
In saying that, some of the speakers opposite who are not in the Chamber are pursuing an agenda that would have got our country into even more trouble and are still cheerleading via the column inches of certain newspapers which do not deserve to be mentioned in this House. What we need to do is to make sure that the family home is never repossessed and taken away and that we preserve and protect that family home for decent men and women.
This is not about punishing people. It is about making sure we have people living in their own homes and that banks behave responsibly and work with and not become disengaged from ordinary people who, in the majority of cases, are trying to make an honourable settlement in the realignment of their mortgages. We all accept it is difficult.
We cannot scapegoat the ordinary person regarding mortgages. We must make sure that they are worked with and that the banks fulfil the obligations they have as outlined by Government. We have seen the targets set by the Government. Let us give them a chance to work. I see people in my office every week, be they from small or medium-sized enterprises or family homeowners trying not just to salvage their family homes but to preserve and protect their family life as well. That is the most important thing. We must work in unison to ensure the family home is protected.